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IX. IN THE SHOPS 85-100 






XV. A GIRLS' SCHOOL 151-160 




To face 

Yunnanese Landscape Frontispiece 

Map of China xv 

Chinese Architecture on a steep Mountain Side 8 

Old Bridge over the Imperial Canal ... 9 

Sacred Horse from a Tonkinese Pagoda 24 

Typical Tonkinese Landscape Buffaloes crossing River 24 

Helping my Husband vaccinate Tonkinese Children 24 

Between Mongzeu Station and Village 25 

The Walls of Mongzeu 25 

Street in Mongzeu 25 

Kilometer 112 32 

The Nam-ti Loop 33 

Yunnan Fou in Winter 40 

General Tsai 41 

Chinese soldiers drilling 41 

Buffaloe Carts 56 

Triumphal Arch of Hindoo Origin 56 

Mann Women 56 

Celebrations in Honour of the revolution 57 

Wan-tang Falls 72 

My Chinese Chair 73 

Salt Merchants 73 

A typical paved Chinese Street 73 

Chinese Inn overhanging a Precipice 80 

The Country side near Yunnan Fou 81 

On the Canal 88 

Street Scenes ... 89 

Hero and Heroine in a Chinese Drama. Both roles are taken by men 112 

A crowded Street 113 

The Scraps of Rag 113 

The East Gate of Yunnan Fou 113 

A Door of the Copper Temple 136 

Hei-long-t'an 137 

The Si-Chan-Temples 144 

On the Way to the Si-Chan 145 

In the Temple of 500 Genii. The Buddha with a long Arm ... 152 

The golden Ox 152 

In the Garden adjoining the Confucius Temple 152 

Girls drilling 153 

The North Gate of Yunnan Fou 153 

A Review of Chinese Troops 153 

The French Consul Wilden and the General Tsai 153 

Bridge of the 82 th Kilometre 176 

In the high Mountains of Yunnan 177 

N D; C. H O U TM AV 

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Frontiers of Countries 

Railways terminated 

in construction 



WHEN the Messageries Maritimes mail boat deposited three 
quarters of its passengers at Saigon before continuing 
its route to Hongkong and Japan there was great eagerness 
shown by army officers and Government officials and per- 
haps even more by their wives to know the post to which 
they had been ordered. Our long discussions on board 
concerning our probable destination were ended here. 

My husband found that Haiphong was to be our future 
residence and that he was to serve in the military hospital 
there. We had hoped to go to Hanoi the capital, but as we 
were at least in Tonking which has a far better climate 
than Cochinchina, our desires had been partly realized and 
we were satisfied. Our best friends who had wished for 
Haiphong were sent to Hanoi! Such is fate! 

Congratulations and commiserations had been more than 
sufficiently indulged in, when the next day we took leave 
of the friends who were to remain in Cochinchina and em- 
barked on the Annexe steamer for Tonking. Along the coast 
of Annam we again deposited co-passengers and by the 
time we arrived in Haiphong the number which had started 
together from Marseilles had reduced itself to about a dozen. 

The cool bright weather which greeted us in Haiphong 
sent up my spirits and I found every thing and every body 

What a relief after the damp heat of Saigon. 


Haiphong is the second largest town in Tonking and its 
chief port. There are mail and cargo boats to Hongkong 
nearly every day of the week accomplishing the distance 
in some 50 hours. Two French, one English and one German 
Company own boats on the line. Haiphong is also in na- 
vigable communication with Hongay noted for its coal 
mines, Moncay and all the region of the Baie d' Along, with 
Hanoi, Nam-Dinh, Dap-Cau and with the greater portion 
of the Tonkinese Delta through which the Red River and 
its tributaries flow. 

In 1887, floating docks were built in Haiphong which was 
already at that time the chief port of Tonking and Southern 
China. As the commercial prosperity of the French Colony 
grew, dredging operations were undertaken and whereas 
ten years ago the mail boats of the Messageries Maritimes 
were often unable to reach the town and obliged to stay a 
day or two in the Raie d' Along, they can now come alongside 
any day at any tide. Ships of seven metres depth have now 
easy access to the port. Dredging is still continued actively 
and the Chamber of Commerce in 1910 contracted a new 
loan of 2.000.000 francs for the execution of other impro- 
vements. The traffic increases yearly (in 1909 it was nearly 
2.000.000 tons) and since the line Haiphong- Yunnan Fou 
was opened a fresh impetus has been added to the port. 
When the Yunnanese realize the tremendous possibilities 
of this line and take full advantage of it, Haiphong will 
naturally benefit at the same time. It is the only opening 
towards the sea in a country as large as France. 

As a town, Haiphong is neither picturesque nor interes- 
ting. One would hardly know one was in the East. There 
is no colour. The native dress is a browny drab the same 
shade as their skin, their houses, their fields. The country 
all round is absolutely flat. For several weeks, sometimes 
months during the winter there is little sun and a drizzle 
known as the"crachin"is very frequent. This damp atmos- 


phere in winter like the blazing sun in summer, seems to 
reduce all, people, houses and vegetation to the same neutral 
tint. It is a contrast to the vivid colours in Cochinchina. 
The houses are built on European lines; there are few 
bungalows, nearly all have one or two storeys, the streets 
are well kept, the roads inland in splendid condition. The 
town is surrounded by water ; the port is on the Cua Cam 
River, on another side is the Song Tarn Bac River which 
flows into the Cua Cam, and an artificial canal joins the 
Song Tarn Bac to the Cua Cam transforming Haiphong into 
a sort of island. There are innumerable ferry boats but 
only two bridges which give egress from the town. Nearly 
all Europeans live on the island. 

Haiphong is on the edge of the Tonkinese delta which 
is reputed to be one of the richest rice valleys in the world. 
It even vies with Cochinchina and Burma in the production 
of rice. And it may not be very long before different mining 
industries bring further wealth to the country. The coal 
mines of Hongay and Kebao, the zinc mines of "La Borde- 
laise" Society are being worked with profit and their out- 
put is increasing monthly. 

Apart from the French, the foreign element in Haiphong 
is small. There are a few British subjects connected with 
the Eastern Extention Telegraph Company and different 
mining exploits, some Americans attached to the Standard 
Oil Company and a few Germans employed by a German 
Steamship Company. The "Chartered Bank" established 
a bank in 1914. Till then, there was a German, but no 
British Consul. 

The French community number some 1200 persons while 
there are about 9000 Chinese and over 17.000 Tonkinese. 
These last, however, live in villages on the outskirts of the 
town; in Haiphong itself there are practically only French 
and Chinese. The menial occupations such as rickshawmen, 
coal carriers and the lower grade servants, are undertaken 


by Tonkinese, but the shops are managed by Chinese, and 
it is they who are employed as clerks in the Banks and 
business houses, as foremen in works and on the steam 
boats, &c. In the native market the vendors are entirely 
Tonkinese but they come with their produce from the sur- 
rounding villages. This market is the most picturesque 
spot in the town. Here one finds animation and local colour 
in plenty. The native women deck themselves out in their 
best to come there. To their dismal black and yellowish 
brown tunics and skirts they have added a bright green 
or bright red sash. Their big flat hats which serve them 
as umbrellas in winter and sunshades in summer are laid 
for the moment on the ground by their side. These enor- 
mous structures are very curious but less artistic than the 
conical-shaped hats that both men and women wear in 
Annam. The women squat on the ground before their 
wares. Here one sees baskets of tangerines and oranges 
making a blaze of yellow, there, masses of lettuces, peas, 
haricot beans, tomatoes, &c., for the benefit of the white 
population, and a little further on, baskets of flowers for 
offerings in the pagodas. These flowers have a very pleasant 
scent but are useless for decorating a room as all the 
blossoms have been picked off their stems. For one cent 
you will be given four tuberose blossoms and two hibiscus 
heads, or three pink roses and two lotus blooms. 

Then the stalls containing Chinese infant garments, little 
coats, little caps, little shoes, and the toy stalls, make a fine 
display of colour. 

The coiffeur corner amused us most. The shaver and 
the shaved squat opposite each other on a narrow plank 
on trestles. If either makes a sudden movement, both men 
with razor soap and the whole paraphanalia topple over. 
The position is precarious for such a delicate operation. It is 
a much more complicated matter to shave a Tonkinese 
than a European; attention has not only to be paid to 


the lower part of the face but the skin of the forehead must 
be shaved also, extra hairs of the eyebrows must be tweaked 
out and the ceremony generally includes the cleaning of 
the ears. 

But except in this corner of the town there is no real 
native element. 

Both Haiphong and Hanoi are socially far ahead of 
provincial towns in France. People entertain far more 
frequently. The theatre and cinema which are large in 
comparison with the number of the white population are 
always full. A theatrical troupe comes out from France 
every year and divides its time between the two towns. 
It is ambitious and does not only limit itself to operettas 
and vaudevilles but gives creditably the well known operas 
and the new comedies of the "Comedie francaise". Far 
more interest is taken in games here than in France. 
Nearly all Europeans play foot-ball or tennis or ride. Good 
players and their methods are discussed and games are 
a frequent subject of conversation. Even those who do 
not themselves take part in any kind of game show enthu- 
siasm for their champions, and spectators are never wan- 
ting for inter-club matches. This is not always the case 
in France. 

The fashions are followed quite as assiduously as at 
home in fact "show" is perhaps too much indulged in. 
Women seem to vie with one another in the richness and 
variety of their costumes. Economy which is the watch- 
word of French women in France loses its hold in the Co- 
lonies. Every family has a victoria or governess cart and 
mothers and children are to be seen every afternoon dri- 
ving out to the zoological garden at Lac-Tray. There are 
far more children per family than in France and they keep 
well and healthy. One rarely sees the pallid complections 
of Saigon. Those who become anaemic and run down in 
summer soon pick up with the cool weather in winter. 


In Hanoi social functions are somewhat spoilt by the 
importance given to precedence both among Government 
officials and Army officers. The French who pride them- 
selves on their democratic principles are always conscious 
of their rank even when not on duty. The Englishman off 
duty, in drawing-room or club, views all men as his equals 
and only makes distinctions as regards manners and edu- 
cation on the one hand or skill as a player on the other. 
In Haiphong, there are more business firms more men 
independent of Government and Army control so that this 
spirit of hierarchy is less keenly felt than in the Capital. 

The summer of the Tonkinese Delta is more trying than 
that of Saigon. There are many days when the thermo- 
meter goes up to 38 Centigrade in the day and 30 at night. 
The French do not fly from the hot season as systematically 
as the English and though hill stations are much discussed 
in Health reports and newspaper articles, there is little Go- 
vernment or private initiative to organize them. 

If Frenchmen felt the same necessity however, as the 
English in India, to send away their wives and children 
during the hot weather, accomodation would naturally be 
found. Up to last year the only villas or hotels where any 
comforts could be obtained were in two sea-side resorts 
Doson 15 miles from Haiphong, and Sampson 15 miles 
from Thanh Hoa which is on the railway between Hanoi 
and Vinh. Here the sea breezes make the heat more bear- 
able and the change of air is certainly of benefit to visi- 
tors especially to children, but there is no real difference of 
temperature with the rest of the delta. 

In 1910, the Yunnan Railway was terminated but few 
visitors dared to take advantage of it during the summers of 
1911 and 1912 for the country was still in unrest owing to the 
recent revolution. My husband therefore sent me to Chapa 
during the hottest part of the summer of 1912. This is a 
small plateau in the hills above Laokay very near the 


Chinese frontier. It was originally an agricultural station 
but the climate was found so cool that a hotel was built in 
the hopes of attracting visitors. It was just finished when 
I went up there. The climb up the rough and steep moun- 
tain path from Laokay had to be done on horse-back or 
in a chair carried by Chinese coolies and took a whole day. 
The climate was cool but damp, continual mountain mists 
hid the view and rain sometimes continued for several days 
running. It was a very lonely spot. The natives, Manns 
and Khas, live in small scattered villages numbering only 
half a dozen huts. It was difficult even to find the paths 
leading to them. The lack of daily postage and a telegraph 
office was what I missed most. Beyond the hotel a Company 
of the Foreign Legion were building temporary barracks 
but except for this small group of soldiers, their officer, and 
the hotel visitors there were no Europeans resident there. 

In 1913, a hotel was opened at Tam-Dao in the hills above 
Vinh Yen. This spot is not at a great altitude 900 metres 
and it is very shut in, being built in the midst of forest- 
covered hills. It is possible to look down on one side into 
the plain but the steep mountains, towering above on the 
other three, prevent the feeling of freedom and life given 
by a vast horizon. Few paths have as yet been cut through 
the forest so walks and rides are limited. It has the great 
advantage however of being within easy reach of Hanoi, 
and many residents have built small villas around the 
hotel. It is possible, leaving Hanoi in the early morning, 
to be at Tam-Dao for lunch. The climate here as at Chapa 
is damp with frequent rain and mists but the temperature 
is much lower than in the plain and one does not suffer 
from the heat. Husbands can join their wives from Satur- 
day till Monday and there is constant and quick commu- 
nication. It will probably become a favorite summer resort. 

Neither of these places can compare however withYunnan 
Fou either as regards climate or interest and if the Railway 


Company would inaugurate a few night trains so that the 
journey might take one and a half instead of three days, there 
is no doubt that it would be far the most popular resort 
of the three. I spent the summer of 1913 up there. My hus- 
band obtained a month's leave and was able to come up 
with me. The journey was most interesting, and except for 
the terrible heat during the first two days we enjoyed it 
very much. 

The three hours train journey from Haiphong to Hanoi 
took us through the centre of the Tonkinese Delta. An 
even surface of rice fields stretched away on either side as far 
as one could see. Every inch was cultivated. Space seemed 
even to be grudged the villages, for they were cramped in- 
side high bamboo hedges which hid even the roofs of the 
houses. The only buildings visible were a few small native 
temples which had been built wherever a mound or por- 
tion of uneven ground had made cultivation difficult. 

Towards five o'clock we reached the Paul Doumer 
bridge which is among the ten longest in the world. The 
train was going slowly and as I stood at the open window 
gazing down on the river, its iron pillars with their hanging 
chains seemed never ending. After passing over one broad 
sheet of water we went over dry land again where cattle 
and oxen were feeding on grass and small stunted trees. 
Then again water lay beneath us and one realized that 
this intervening stretch of dry land must be often flooded 
and the river arms join. Sampans were lying on the 
banks of the river and here and there were groups of native 
huts on rafts which rose and sank with the changes in 
the tide. 

Soon after, we went over the outskirts of Hanoi, and 
looked down into a medley of small native houses with 
children running about or squatting in the little square 
courtyards. All was drab colour but without the dirty 
appearance given by the smoke as in the suburbs of our 




large European towns. Occasionally a Hibiscus hedge with 
its big blood-red drooping blossoms or a purple-flowered 
Bougainvillia made a pleasant contrast to the dull tones of 
huts and people. Attention had evidently been shown to 
the few flowering shrubs in the little courtyards but there 
was no exuberant vegetation such as one sees in a tropical 

Every now and then in singular contrast to these clusters 
of small houses and courtyards, we passed over a broad well 
made road, as good as any high road round London or 
Paris. One looked out involuntarily for motor-cars trams, 
&c. on such a high-way, and the shabby wooden rickshaws 
and buffaloe carts seemed quite out of place. Sometimes 
one saw a small dog-cart driven by a lady in a stylish Paris 
hat and by her side a very small native boy in white acting 
as groom, or again a minuscule Victoria drawn by two small 
but rapid native ponies, the coach man and groom on the 
box looking in their livery like two dressed-up monkeys. 
But even these appearances of our own civilization hardly 
seemed in keeping with such a road. 

The native element in Hanoi is in far greater evidence 
than in Haiphong. The population numbers some 100.000 
and here the Chinese are in the minority and do not enjoy 
the same prestige. The Tonkinese quarter of the town is 
teeming with life, and local colour is not wanting. There 
are whole long streets as in Canton selling the same article 
the blue pottery street, the leather sandal street, the em- 
broidered silk street, &c. &c. Many of these are vivid in 
colouring and are most picturesque and fascinating. 

Europeans who, though as numerous as in Haiphong, 
represent but a small fraction of the population are grouped 
round "le petit lac" in the centre of the town. This little 
lake makes Hanoi most attractive and unique. It is not 
large about half the size of Regent's Park Lake but the 
water is blue and limpid. Standing on small islets which 


emerge just above the level of the water are native temples, 
chefs d'oeuvres of Annamese architecture. They are sub- 
dued in colouring, and perfect in proportion. One of them 
is connected by a narrow picturesque red bridge with 
the mainland. Round the lake are some wonderful old 
trees whose branches hang over and are reflected in the 
transparent water. The French have planted brilliantly 
flowering bushes among these trees and covered the gently 
sloping banks with grassy lawns which have added to the 
charm of the spot. They have also pulled down the native 
houses which advanced to the edge of the water, so as to 
provide a broad drive the whole way round. 

Hanoi is the city of French Government officials. The 
Governor General has a palace there as well as at Saigon. 
There are splendid shops and a beautiful theatre a small 
model of the Paris Opera-House. The broad well kept roads 
lined with trees with the big residential houses on either 
side, all surrounded by gardens, give an idea of wealth and 
comfort. One is only astonished to find the streets so empty, 
but this is perhaps due to the town being laid down on al- 
most too vast a scale. 

We left Hanoi early one morning for Laokay. I wished 
that some of the luxury lavished on the building of the 
station had been expended on the train accomodation. No 
fans and no ice with a temperature of 38 in the shade! At 
Yen Bay where we stopped an hour for lunch the train 
was left in the midday sun so that when we returned to it, 
we gasped for breath. The last four or five hours of this 
journey to Laokay was one of the most uncomfortable ex- 
periences we ever had in the East. The line too twisted and 
turned so much that several passengers were sea-sick. 

The scenery was very much the same as between Hai- 
phong and Hanoi, ricefields and again ricefields. Occasion- 
ally there were broad muddy rivers and large native 
towns with the French Resident's house in their midst. 


The European-built houses always stood high above the 
small Tonkinese dwellings. 

Some 60 or 70 kilometres from the frontier the charac- 
ter of the country changed. Instead of traversing an abso- 
lutely level plain we wound in and out between hillocks 
covered with dense tropical vegetation. There were num- 
bers of wild hemp trees which much resemble the banana. 
They were in flower and the blooms which grow at the ex- 
treme top of the straight stems made them look like so 
many candles with red flames. A factory for turning these 
hemp trees to account has lately been built at Vietry by an 
American Company. The cord thus manufactured from 
the native hemp is a source of wealth to the Philippine 
islands and it is hoped that the same results may be obtai- 
ned here. 

Besides this low scrub vegetation the line from time to 
time runs through real tropical forest. One is awed as one 
attempts to peer in between these huge high trees. All is 
darkness and mystery. Nothing stirs. The sun never pene- 
trates through the thick foliage and the wind can only effect 
the highest branches. It seems impossible for man to cut 
his way through such a forest, for not only is the thick 
undergrowth extremely dense, but twisting curling creepers 
which seize and strangle all they grasp, hang from the top- 
most branches making an impenetrable barrier. If we 
had less sun here, shaded as we were by the overhanging 
trees, the atmosphere was perhaps heavier than before ; we 
seemed to be suffocating for want of air, an even more 
disagreable sensation than the actual heat of the earlier part 
of the day. We looked at our watches every five minutes 
longing to reach our destination. 

Every now and then we had glimpses of the Red River 
to which the line was running almost parallel; the stream 
is broad and deep here but the strong current makes 
navigation difficult. We occasionally saw sampans how r - 


ever whose owners were willing to risk the dangers of an 
accident for the sake of the rapid progress down stream. 
When this part of the country was flooded and the line 
destroyed in August 1910 even steam launches made their 
way up and down to Laokay daily. From Vietry they took 
two or three days to go up stream but only a few hours to 
descend the same distance. 

We reached Laokay towards six o'clock in the evening. 
It had a pretty aspect from the train, lying in a hollow 
among the hills. The clusters of native huts on either side 
of the broad river, the magnificent bridge spanning it, the 
European buildings scattered here and there on the higher 
ground, were a pleasing contrast after the strange weird 
impressions made by the tropical forest. Though it w r as the 
last place I should chose to live in owing to its bad climate 
and low unhealthy situation, yet it was a welcome sight 
that day for it meant that the second stage of our journey 
was accomplished. 


I felt as if I had only just laid down when my husband, 
opening the door between our rooms, called to me to get 
up. It was 6 o'clock and the train started at 7. 

The heat, even at that early hour, was almost unbearable, 
it seemed difficult to breathe, one felt one would be shortly 
suffocated for want of air. In Haiphong I had never expe- 
rienced such oppression as that morning at Laokay and I 
pitied the officers on duty in such a place. It is considered 
one of the worst climates in Tonking but I daresay many 
of them came there by choice for, being a frontier post, they 
hoped to see active service. 

In spite of turning my fan from side to side to obtain 
the full benefit of it as I moved about the room while dres- 
sing I was thoroughly tired and running with perspiration 
before I was ready. Unable to eat any breakfast we started 
at once for the station which was a few steps from the 
hotel. On the platform were a number of white dressed 
Europeans many of them there for no special reason. This 
early hour was the coolest in the day, so by common con- 
sent the more sociable portion of the community met at the 
station, and watched the departure of the two trains going 
East and Wes-t which left within a few minutes of each other. 

My husband found colleagues on the platform and began 
changing medical opinions with them preventing me from 
making the more serious enquiries regarding lunch and ice. 



The train had hardly left the platform when we found 
ourselves crossing the bridge over the Nam Ti river and 
going through the "Gate of China". This iron bridge 120 
metres long passes over the Nam Ti close to where it joins 
the Red River. The latter river serves for many miles as a 
boundary between French and Chinese territory and on 
its French bank lies the military camp of Kocleou. From 
this bridge a good idea of the whole district could be ob- 
tained. On the river banks below us we could see the native 
huts of Annamese on one side and Chinese on the other. 
Above our heads on the mountain side were Chinese forts, 
apparently so well placed that if their guns were modern 
and in working order they could destroy Laokay in a few 
minutes. Rehind us was the station and around it the greater 
part of the European dwellings, the hotel, the club, the Resi- 
dence and Government offices. The clean well kept acade- 
mized roads lined with trees around these buildings made 
a pleasant contrast to the filth and disorder of the Chinese 
and Annamese quarters. In front of us was Hokeou, the 
Chinese town proper hardly differing from the rest of Laokay 
except that there were more Chinese in the streets. Few 
Chinese live in Laokay for it costs them 6/- a head to enter 
French territory. Crossing the bridge at the same time as 
ourselves on the foot-way close to the rails were numbers 
of natives with loaded baskets. There were not only Chinese 
and Annamese, but Lolos and Mans, Thos and Khas, and 
the variety of colour and costume made the scene most 
picturesque. It was the big market day of Hokeou and all 
were on their way to it. Resides the regular market every 
fifth day customary in most centres of Tonking and China, 
a specially large one is held there from time to time, and 
on these occasions one meets representatives of every race 
in the district. We were very sorry not to have time to visit 
it for it is considered a most interesting sight. 

Five minutes after leaving Laokay platform, our train 



stopped at Hokeou station for here the Chinese Customs 
House officers examined our baggage. We followed a young 
Chinese in European dress to the luggage van with our keys 
and pointed out our boxes. He asked us if we had anything 
to declare. We mentioned some cartridges and some wine. 
After enquiring about the quantity he whispered to us to 
say nothing about them. If his colleagues heard us mention 
these things we should have to open all our belongings and 
he did not consider it necessary. We returned to our com- 
partment rather surprised at this attitude, but thankful to 
have escaped all bother. 

A few miles out of Laokay we entered a narrow gorge 
and for several hours the line followed the curves of the 
Nam Ti keeping quite close to the bed of the river. The 
steep hills on either side were forest-covered except here 
and there towards the top where one saw crags of bare 
gray rock. Occasionally we caught sight of bands of mon- 
keys sitting on the stones by the river's edge or swinging 
on the branches above it. They had evidently come down 
to drink. The water falls and rivulets which add so much 
to the charm of the scenery later in the year were all dry 
on our way up to Yunnan Fou in the first week of June. 

At Lahati, some 70 kilometres from Laokay the gradient 
ecame very steep and we began to go through tunnels, 
cross bridges over ravines, and skirt precipices. 

One had the thrills of half nervous excitement which 
one experiences in travelling in Switzerland. How had 
engineers dared to conceive a bridge at such a corner, 
an embankment on such a slope, how had contractors 
dared to undertake the fulfilment of such an enterprise? 
In Switzerland for example every facility is given them. 
The goodwill of the people, is guaranteed, housing and 
provisioning offer little difficulty, unskilled labour is in a 
way skilled for all know how to handle shovel and pick. 
The workmen are easily procured easy to manage, healthy 


and happy, used to the land and the conditions of work. 
The maps of the country are correct, any missing instru- 
ment can be procured at a moment's notice, every thing is 
within easy reach. But here what a difference! The in- 
domitable perseverance which must have been shown by 
all to carry the work through, is the upper most thought in 
one's mind during those two days travel to Yunnan Fou. 
There are pieces of engineering skill for which I have felt 
greater wonder and awe but I have never felt more the 
pluck of the workers, the daring of those who planned it and 
the faith of those who financed it and carried it out. Every- 
thing, customs, climate, labour, must have been against 
them, apart from the nature of the country. 

Lunch was served to us in the train but as we happened 
to be going through the best part of the scenery, it was ra- 
ther an agitated meal. Not that we could have enjoyed it 
much sitting still. No comfortable chairs, no electric fan, 
no table-cloth; all the courses which should have been hot 
were cold and the cold tepid. The little Annamese boy 
waiter placed his dishes one on the top of the other as he 
hastened in and out of the compartment; it was not appe- 
tising to see your ham squashed under a plate of potatoes 
or your cheese flattened out by a dish of fruit. Whenever 
the rolls of bread or the forks slipped on to the dirty car- 
riage floor he would hurriedly pick them up but still .... 
After a little hesitation we made up our minds to eat all 
the same but it was easier said than done, for just as you 
had a piece of beef on your fork and were putting it into 
the salt, the train could disappear into a tunnel and the 
complete darkness (for there were no lamps lit) forced you 
to abandon your mouthful. And one could not swallow 
for some little time after passing through a tunnel. The 
smoke rushed in by all the windows choking and blinding 
you. Ordinary engine smoke is bad enough but the coal 
which is burnt along this railway comes from the mines 


of Yunnan and is full of sulphur. It suffocates you, so that 
you can hardly breathe much less swallow dry bread or 
tough chicken. 

Then in the rush of light, as the smoke cleared away 
there was invariably a new view to be admired. An exited 
call to come and look at something quite different and 
more extraordinary than ever drew us from our seats and, 
nobody daring to show lack of interest, there was a scramble 
to one of the windows. After five minutes of exclamations 
of wonder and delight, we squashed down into our places 
again, and had to begin by repairing the damage done by 
our hasty uprising a glass of water had always been upset, 
or somebody's heel had gone into the rice pudding which 
had been placed on the floor. With all these mishaps, we 
were still at lunch when we went over the most wonderful 
bridge of the whole journey. It is at kilometre 111. Looking 
ahead a short distance before reaching it, the gorge up 
which one is moving seems to come to a full stop. A great 
mountain blocks the way. Where will the line pass? Tra- 
cing it on ahead, one sees the rails suddenly enter a tunnel 
at the foot of this mountain, come out on an iron bridge 
100 metres above a roaring torrent, and enter another 
tunnel. From there, one sees the line circling up the moun- 
tain side opposite till it seems to cross over the top. 

As we reached the tunnel we all installed ourselves at 
the windows and waited impatiently for the bridge. Hardly 
out of the darkness we heard the hollow rattle of this huge 
network of metal which stretched up from the valley below. 
A man a European was climbing up the iron scaffolding. 
He looked like a fly in a large spiders web and gave us an 
idea of the immensity of the structure. The main support of 
this bridge did not come from below. Two great supports of 
iron came straight out from the mountain side like long arms 
and joined in the middle of the abyss. The rails had then been 
laid upon them. The boldness of the conception thrilled us. 


Between two and three we reached the plateau of Mongzeu 
and for a time the line was straight with no bridges or tunnels. 
This vast plain was covered with rice fields and dotted about 
with villages of which the flatroofed houses looked as if 
made of mud. From here onwards, it is true, the bricks 
were not baked, only sun dried so retained their earthy 
colour. Mongzeu which was pointed out to us in the centre 
of the plain seemed hardly larger than other villages. This 
was our next stopping place, for the French Consul had 
invited us to stay a night with him on our way up to 
Yunnan Fou. We collected our baggage and left the train 
at Dragon Noir which is the nearest station to Mongzeu. 
The line skirts the plateau but does not cross it and we had 
therefore 6 kilometres journey through the rice fields to 
the town. 

We found an Annamese gendarme awaiting us on the 
platform. He had in readiness a horse for my husband and 
a chair with 4 Chinese coolies for me. 

The path from the station into the plain below was 
narrow, stony, and steep, so much so that after 5 minutes 
jolting, I preferred to walk till we were on level ground again. 
We were surprised that the population of this highly culti- 
vated plain should be content with such a high-way. It 
was one of the most fertile regions along the line and the 
railway served not only for the transport of cereals but for 
the out-put of the famous tin-mines which are every day 
growing more prosperous. Yet the only means of access to 
the station was this rough path. At present, plans are being 
made for a line to be constructed between the mines at 
Kiotiou and the main railway. When this is done the in- 
habitants of Mongzeu hope that a deviation will be made 
to include their town, but the Chinese are so desultory in 
their dealings, that it may still be long before their wishes 
are realized. In the meantime all are content to leave their 
rough highway as it is. 


On our return, after 3 months in Yunnan Fou, this fact 
no longer struck me as curious. Like the Chinese I had 
begun to think that a path or road which had been good 
enough for centuries was good enough for the present gene- 
ration, and that if packhorses could manage to climb it, 
no improvement was necessary. One accustoms oneself so 
quickly to the ways of a country that very soon I had ceased 
to sigh for a rickshaw, a carriage, or a motor car, and though 
I continued to hate the paved roads I could not imagine 
anything else. The Chinese never mend or broaden a road, 
nor make a new one. 

The Mandarins, leaving the station in chairs like myself, 
did not seem incommoded by the sudden swerves and 
shocks of this mode of conveyance at any rate they re- 
mained seated. If they were able to stand such shakings 
they were surely perfectly immune from sea sickness. 

The horses did not seem to find any difficulty in making 
the descent. These small native ponies have the sure- 
footedness of the cat or goat and they hardly stumble or 
slip on ground where a European horse would not even 
venture. The Chinese riders in their blue costumes, with 
their round, black and red bead-tassled caps and their red 
carpeted saddles made a picturesque group as they descended 
the hill in single file. They guided their ponies with a rein 
which was fastened to the bit on one side only. They could 
pull their steed to the right but not to the left or vice versa. 
To stop, they probably had to pull him completely round. 
All the ponies had small bells attached to their collarswhich 
made a pleasant jingle. 

In the plain I mounted in my chair again and the coolies 
started off at a quick trot through rice and maize fields. 
The sun was still hot and very glaring, more glaring than 
in the Delta for the air was dryer and clearer. Then too, 
its rays were so slanting that the chair shade above my 
head did not protect me. It was curious that at an altitude 


of 1300 metres I should be feeling the sun more than in 
Haiphong. I was not in perspiration as I should have been 
there and yet I felt more scorched and blinded than usual. 

But my discomforts were forgotten in the interest affor- 
ded by Chinese life in the fields. The first picture was most 
amusing and has remained in my memory. The rice fields 
were irrigated by small channels of water which became 
wider and deeper where they turned off at right angles. At 
one of these corners a woman was kneeling, bending over 
the water washing clothes. She scrubbed away at them on 
a flat stone. On her back, a baby was tied whose little head 
waggled from side to side with her every movement. It did 
not seem to object to this curious cradle or rough rocking 
for it was fast asleep. The woman before starting operations 
had pegged a huge sunshade into the ground behind her 
which shaded herself and her infant. It was the big um- 
brella which attracted my fancy most. Chinese women are 
then more practical than Annamese women and more 
thoughtful for their comfort! But would it not have been 
simpler still, to fetch water than to carry dirty clothes, a big 
umbrella, and a baby into the ricefields. There was not a 
native hut within a mile. Nevertheless the woman seemed 
contented with her work, her fat red face glowed with pride 
as, turning to place her well washed garments on the grass 
by her side, we caught a full glimpse of her expression. 
She was dressed in blue trousers and tunic; her hair, in 
a tight knot at the nape of her neck, was held firm by a 
blue enamelled pin. 

Groups of women were here and there working in the 
rice fields or sitting together chatting, having probably finish- 
ed their days task. 

About 4 we reached what I first thought was a village 
like others we had passed through, till I suddenly caught 
sight of a high wall and guessed that this must be Mongzeu. 
This is a town of some 15,000 inhabitants with a European 


Colony, nearly all French, of about 60 persons. Mongzeu 
unlike Yunnan Fou is an "open port". The maritime customs, 
the French Consulate, the French hotel and trading stores, 
the railway company's buildings, are all constructed on 
territory owned by the French. Customs are collected on 
the imports from Tonking chiefly cotton yarn and on 
the tin and opium which are the principal exports. 

Instead of penetrating the walled enclosure as I expected, 
my coolies carried me down a side-street to the right, 
and suddenly dropped me in front of a covered porch with 
huge double wooden doors at the further side. They were 
riddled with holes as large as a penny, which reminded me 
that the French Consulate had twice been attacked by the 
Chinese who had left the marks of their bullets. 

The calls of the coolies brought a Tonkinese gendarme to 
a side-door in the porch and we entered into the Consulate 
garden. It was at once evident that this garden had been 
laid out by a Frenchman. The symmetry of hedges and 
flowerbeds, the broad straight gravel paths at right angles 
to each other, the small round cemented pond with its foun- 
tain, reminded one in a modest way of the large country 
house gardens round Paris. The house itself with its two 
wings at right angles to the main building was also unmis- 
takably French. 

Mr. Flayelle, the Consul, after a few words of welcome, 
showed us to our room in the rightwing and we were al- 
lowed to refresh ourselves immediatly by a warm bath. 

After a cup of tea Mr. Flayelle accompanied us into the 
Chinese town. 

We passed through the great arch-way which led to it 
with difficulty for just inside a 'Chinese policeman was car- 
rying on a heated discussion with an individual on horse- 
back. A crowd had collected and was listening open 
mouthed and open eyed. Occasionally the restive pony 
backed or dashed a few steps forward scattering the people 


around. It was annoying to understand nothing of the sub- 
ject of the quarrel. 

We walked alongside the high fortress wall. There was 
a little open space covered with green grass at the foot of 
the walls, and here all the little Chinese boys of the town 
seemed to have collected to play. There was quarreling, 
playing, laughing, fighting, all going on at the same time; 
children chasing each other, rolling each other over on the 
grass, clambering up the bank which protects the walls on 
the interior of the town and sliding down them. Most of 
them had laid aside their little tunics and were naked to 
the waist. 

The little girls were mostly sitting by their mother's side 
on the door steps of their homes. They did not play with 
their brothers. 

But after a few hundred yards I was obliged to abandon 
this interesting stroll and return home. Unprepared for 
Chinese pavements I had put on high-heeled evening 
slippers and found it impossible to walk. Already tired 
with the journey I was incapable of the effort of walking 
under such difficulties. After nearly twisting my ankle 
twice, 1 gave up the attempt and returned to the Consulate. 

The next morning we ventured within the walled city 
alone. We strolled about taking photographs and spent 
most of our time in trying to persuade children or women 
to come out of the shade of the porch or tree under which 
they were sitting, that we might get a good snapshot. The 
most characteristic groups showing native life, such as wo- 
men sowing and chatting on their doorsteps, men squatting 
round a tray on the ground and eating promiscuously from 
the porcelain bowls of rice and sauces with their chopsticks, 
the buying and selling at the small booths were always in 
a bad light. The Chinese feel the sun like ourselves and 
when no shade is available, they stick up a big umbrella 
and sit under that. The strong lights and shadows in such 


a case make a good photo impossible. If you succeed in 
dragging them into the full sun they will only stand there 
staring and making faces, you cannot force them to go on 
with their former occupation in any other place than the 
one they have chosen. It is most annoying for the photo- 
grapher. It often happens too that they will refuse to be 
photographed at all. They hide their faces or turn their 
backs or run away, and you have to employ great stealth 
or ruse to obtain the view you desire. They will steadily 
refuse to tilt back their big hats which shade their faces. 
Often there is some child in the group who, understanding 
photography and wanting to be in the picture, will place 
himself just in front of the lens and completely hide his 
parents or companions. 

That would not matter if he was a typical Chinese but 
these impudent young rascals have always some European 
garment upon them-either a tweed cap, or leather shoes 
and coloured socks, or even a shabby cast off coat and this 
incongruous costume, seen in a photo, would give quite a 
wrong idea of the ordinary street-child. 

The Chinese streets too, are difficult to photograph. Being 
so narrow they are almost entirely in shade, and this is 
accentuated by the upper story always projecting beyond 
the lower one. But our great regret all the while we were 
in Yunnan was not to have brought coloured plates with 
us. On coming out East, we had hoped to do wonderful 
things with them but in Haiphong we found ourselves in 
an almost colourless country. Except for the green of the 
ricefields and an occasional sunset, all was drab colour, the 
natives, their costumes, their dwellings, the roads, often the 
sky itself. Such poor material did not make one feel inclined 
to tackle the great difficulties of developing and we had 
come without them. But here was colour in plenty. The rosy 
cheeks of women and children, the blue costumes touched 
up with red or purple, the green and various coloured 


slates and tiles used for the roofs of temples and houses 
or as frescoes on either side of the doorway, the bright 
paper toys, the rich coloured baskets of fruit, the shining 
yellow leather straps and harness, the red carpet saddles 
of the packhorses. Wherever one turned in the streets, one 
was struck by the variety of colour. Black and white plates 
here could give no idea of the aspect of the country. 

We returned to lunch at the French Consulate and 
early in the afternon took our leave of Mongzeu. 

A few hours by rail brought us to Ami-Tcheou where we 
were to spend the night. Ami-Tcheou is situated on a 
plateau some 100 kilometres square. Rice and the sugar 
cane are cultivated. There are also coal mines at the foot 
of the surrounding hills. These are worked by the Chinese 
who supply the French Railway Company and the sugar- 
refining factories near the town with coal. 

Though Ami-Tcheou is in a high altitude it is well pro- 
tected from cold winds and we noticed many tropical 
plants by the side of those of temperate regions. Many 
Europeans had vines which were covered with small 
grapes and thriving well. 

After dinner, we made our way along an unlighted path 
into the Chinese walled town which contains some 5000 in- 

There seemed to be no public lighting of the streets and 
the flicker of the small oil or petrol lamps in the native 
booths produced a most mysterious effect. The dogs were 
evidently unused to Europeans walking along the streets 
at that hour for though they left the Chinese alone, they 
came rushing out of doorways to bark at us as we passed. 

There was little buying and selling going on, for the 
Chinese dislike an exchange of cash after dark fearing to 
receive false coin. The restaurants however were full. We 
saw shadowy forms round the small tables, some leaning 
over their bowls of tea or alcohol, others lying back full 








length on the benches. The story teller at the back of the 
room with his high and low intonations seemed wound 
up like a machine and as if his voice would never cease. 

Every sound and attitude seemed weird and mysterious 
in that dim light and I was glad to return to the hotel. We 
went straight to bed for we had another early start the next 

After leaving Ami-Tch6ou the line enters the gorge of the 
Pa Taho a tributary of the Namti. During the morning we 
passed by several well cultivated regions plateaux like 
those of Mongzeu and Ami-Tcheou but less extensive. 

Just after lunch the train stopped and word was passed 
along that there had been a land-slide, and as the damage 
had not been completly repaired we must walk or proceed 
by lorry for a short distance. It was 12 o'clock and I had 
just lain down on the seat for a siesta when the sum- 
mons came. I rose unwillingly, put on my hat, and stum- 
bled out of the train after my husband into the hot sun. 
In my sleepy state I felt I had stepped into a pandemo- 
nium. All the Chinese coolies of the third and fourth 
classes seemed to have gone mad with excitement. They 
were hurrying to and fro shouting orders to each other, 
cording up their parcels and shouldering them. The lucky 
ones who possessed wooden yokes, fixed their belongings 
on to them and carried them over their shoulder. They 
kept pushing each other, knocking off each other's big hats, 
treading on each others cords, tumbling over each others 
boxes; each man hindered his neighbours' movements. 
They were evidently quite unprepared for this change of 
trains and as no coolies had been provided as porters for 
the fourth class it was a case of every one for himself, and 
chey were seized with panic lest^they should be left behind. 

I wended my way as best I could through this excited 
crowd, receiving more than my share of pushes, but I had 
to hurry in order to keep sight of my husband ahead. 


Suddenly, while endeavouring to dodge the corner of a 
tin box, carried by a Chinese, I received a great shock. As 
he came blundering along, streaming with perspiration, 
I jumped aside but instead of landing on the road I jum- 
ped into a ditch about a foot deep. Not only that, but I 
found myself standing on some living creature ! My horri- 
fied exclamation was drowned in the squeal which im- 
mediately rent the air. I was standing on a fat black pig ! 
About a dozen of these animals with their legs tied together 
had been laid in this narrow ditch and green branches pla- 
ced over them to shade them from the sun. The branches 
hiding both pigs and ditch were responsible for my fright. 

My husband was waiting for me beside a number of 
small trucks which were at the disposal of travellers to 
cover the distance between the trains. Each held two per- 
sons and when our turn came we sat down on the little 
wooden bench. Two Chinese coolies immediately began 
to push it along the narrow rails, and from a leasurely trot 
broke into a quick run. Then when a final thrust had given 
it a good impetus, they jumped on behind us, keeping their 
hold by gripping the back of our seat. Is was very danger- 
ous to go at such a speed especially with 4 persons aboard 
our fragile conveyance. We had no steering gear and only 
the coolies feet which they dragged along the ground, to 
act as brakes. At every slight curve I thought our last mo- 
ment had come. It was wonderful we did not overturn. 
At one place the rails ran over a narrow bridge, and the 
rattle and hollow sounds as we crossed it were most om- 
inous. I was reminded of my feelings in the mountain rail- 
ways at Earl's Court and the Magic City and tried to re- 
assure myself. There, I had been nervous also, but no acci- 
dent had occured. 

Our lorry stuck nobly to the rails and we arrived safely 
at our destination. At the foot of an embankment the 
coolies signalled to us to leave it, and turned it over on the 


bank. We then had to climb without help the last 50 yards 
to where the train was waiting for us. We found all our 
small baggage already in our carriage, and after counting 
every thing two or three times, we were at liberty to watch 
the coolies who were still coming along in single file la- 
bouring under their packages. One or two were being 
carried in chairs or palanquins. 

A few hours later we came upon one of the prettiest 
views of our whole journey. We were crossing the highest 
part of the Yunnan Plateau along which the line runs 
(2000 metres altitude) when a large lake suddenly dis- 
closed itself to our left. It was nestling among the hills, its 
deep blue water contrasting with the red earth and bright 
green of the hillsides. Here and there were trees on its 
banks and we could see the hut roofs of small villages on 
either side. This still blue sheet of water in this high region 
was a delightful picture to look on. It reminded us of the 
lake of Geneva, seen from Grillon or les Avants. 

We were told that there were hot sulphurous springs here 
which the Chinese visited from all the region of Yunnan 
Fou. After keeping alongside the Tang Che lake for some 
10 kilometres the line descended slightly, and we began to 
look out eagerly for the Chinese towers of the Capital, 
which we had heard described as characteristic landmarks. 

For the first time since leaving Laokay the train kept a 
direct course without curves or twists and we were able 
to rest a little from the shaking we had all received. 

The Yunnan plateau like those of Mongzeu and Ami- 
tcheou was highly cultivated ; rice was the main crop when 
we passed across in June. We saw numbers of the famous 
peachtrees though not in blossom at that moment. Villages 
and pagodas were scattered here and there and every hill 
or slight elevation was covered with tombs. In the distance 
we caught an occasional glimpse of Yunnan Fou lake at 
the foot of a high range of mountains. 


At last a number of grey-tiled roofs became visible and 
standing above them we saw the Victory towers. In a few 
minutes we should be at the end of our journey. In haste 
I tried to wipe off some of the smuts from my face and 
make myself respectable while my husband collected our 
baggage. A few minutes of pushing of trunks and pulling 
of valises, of opening this and that basket to thrust into 
them articles left on the seats, and we stood at the window 
calm and serene as the train came to a stand still. We were 
in Yunnan Fou. 



THE province of Yunnan which appears in the map of Asia 
like a connecting link between India and China serves in 
reality as a frontier state between these two great empires 
by reason of its configuration. Enclosed by its huge moun- 
tain ranges, it has remained shut off from the trade routes 
of the world and with no outlet to the sea. For centuries 
there were only three means of access to the Yunnan, two 
by way of China and one by way of Burmah. France, in / 
opening a fourth route through Tonking towards the South, 
has transformed entirely the economic conditions of the 
country and given it new life. 

The northern route joins the great Chinese river, the 
Yangtsekiang at Itchang and Sui Fu; it continues towards 
the East following the river to Shanghai on the China Sea. 
From Sui Fu to Yunnan Fou it is 640 kilometres. Rut only 
small junks can ascend the river to Sui Fu, whilst rather 
larger boats are stopped at Itchang and steam -boats at 
Hankeou. From Hankeou to the Sea it is 2000 kilometres. 

The second route also traverses the Chinese states of 
Quangsi and Quangtoun. It goes East following the Canton 
river by Pese, Nanning and Canton. Many caravans fre- 
quent this Pese route. The distance from Yunnan Fou to 
Pese by Konangnan is 750 kilometres and the journey takes 
23 days. From Pese to Canton it is 1420 kilometres but it 
only takes 12 days as 500 kilometres can be done by river. 
To transport a ton of merchandise from Yunnan Fou to 
Canton by Pese costs about 100 piastres. 



The third route from Yunnan goes west into Burmah. 
The Terminus is Bhamo on the Irrawaday. Is is 828 kilo- 
metres from Yunnan Fou to Bhamo. This last town is three 
days distance by boat and train from the port of Rangoon. 
From Yunnan Fou to Bangoon one must reckon to take 
from 40 to 45 days. 

The route by Bhamo is the British route. Although the 
Indian Government has sent missions to explore the East 
and the North, it was only by way of Bhamo and Burmah 
that any successful penetration into Yunnan was made. 
Indeed ;both by sea or by land that is the shortest route 
into India. For a long period England seemed, by means 
of Bhamo, to hold the key of the Yunnanese plateau. Bail- 
ways were planned. One was to go to Koulong-Ferry. Later 
expeditions however proved that a railway across the 
three frontier rivers was impractible. Lord Curzon, vice- 
roy of India, confessed in a speech in 1903 that the hope of 
a railway from Burmah to Yunnan must be abandoned. 
In this struggle therefore for a sphere of influence, France 
was left triumphant with the Southern route which crosses 
Tonking to the port of Haiphong. This route was known 
to the Chinese from time immemorial but had always been 
neglected. It followed the Bed River on which stands the 
port of Manhao situated 550 kilometres from the sea and 
150 kilometres from the Tonkinese frontier. 

During the Mussulman revolt (1855 1864) transport by 
the Red River was abandoned by the Chinese because of 
the pirates who infested the country. Jean Dupuis who 
was in touch with the Imperialists at Yunnan Fou re- 
opened the Red River for commerce in 1871. When the 
mandarins in Tonking hindered the movements of his flo- 
tillas he asked France to intervene (1873). This led to the 
establishment of the French in Indo-China. Since that time 
the French have pursued their plans of penetration into 
Yunnan with remarkable tenacity. Once there, the French 


were in a better position than their rivals and the building 
of the railway between Haiphong and Yunnan Fou made ^ 
their success assured. 

Let us follow this struggle through history. 

The illustrious Venetian traveller Marco Polo, doubtless 
the first European explorer to cross Yunnan, traversed 
it from North to South and entered Yunnan Fou which 
he called Yachi. This was in 1272. We must wait till the ^ 
17th Century to find further traces of European explorers. 
In 1658 British traders coming from Burmah tried their 
fortune on the Eastern frontiers of Yunnan. French and 
Italian Jesuits made their way in 1702 from the borders 
of Setchouen and Koeitcheou into the interior of the coun- 
try. These were Duchatz, Leblanc, Bonjour, Fridelli and 
Regis. In 1795 two Britishers, one an officer, Lieutenant 
Woods, and one a Doctor Buchanan crossed Yunnan. 
Then in 1829 two British exploration parties led by Wil- 
cox Boulton and Pemberton Bichardson Grant penetrated 
the country from the west. From the same direction 
came a succession Englishmen. Hamay in 1835, Dr. Bay- 
field 1836, Dr. Griffith 1861, Dr. Clement Williams 1863, 
Major Sladen 1868, Henry Cottam 1876. 

The penetration of Yunnan from India and Burmah was 
not only attempted by the Southern route. Gerard von 
Wusthof a Dutchman sailed up the Mekong and reached 
Yunnan by Laos (1850) while eleven years later Henri 
Mouhot followed his example from Bankok. A French 
naval officer Francis Gamier understood the importance 
of Yunnanese exploration. A mission was formed with 
men such as Delaporte Thorel, Dr. Joubert, de Carne, 
Doudart de Legree, of which he was the chief. After many 
adventures they reached Yunnan Fou in December 1867. 
Afterwards the party went North, crossed the Yangtse, 
visited Setchouen and came back to Yunnan by Talifou. 

The return to China was made by the East and the party 


met together again in Shanghai in 1868 after two years 

A little later British activity showed itself again in the 
person of Augustus Raymond Margary who, setting out 
from Shanghai, reached Bhamo in the extreme West. He 
perished, assasinated by the Chinese. England lost no time 
in demanding compensation and sent other missions. The 
names of some of the explorers who followed are the 
Hon.T. Grosvenor, E. Colborne, Baber, Gill, Cameron, Count 
Bela Szechenzi, Dr. Henry Soltau, Stevenson. 

In 1868 Jean Dupuis reached Yunnan. He started from 
Hankeou, crossed Tonking, passed by Manhao and Mong- 
zeu and arrived in Yunnan Fou after two years of travel. 
He found there Francis Gamier and Bocher. 

In 1882 two Englishman A. B. Colquhom and Wahab 
coming from Canton crossed Yunnan on their way to Bur- 
mah. Wahab died before they reached their destination. 
In 1889-1890 Prince Henri d'Orleans and Bonvalot visited 
Yunnan and Tibet, in 1893 Dr. Louis Pichon was sent to 
make a study of the country. 

From 1895 to 1897 the "mission lyonnaise" travelled all 
over the country and brougth back information of the 
highest importance. 

Prince Henri d'0r!6ans returned to Yunnan in 1895. He 
visited in turn Manhao, Mongzeu, Sczemao,Talifou, Atints6 
Saviga and the Miskim mountains. 

Thus Yunnan, isolated for centuries, succumbed at last 
to European influence, thanks to the efforts of a succession 
of heroes, French or English, who had vied w r ith each 
other in energy and courage. It now remained to mark 
out a route to the sea which should make this transfor- 
mation effective. 

This role fell to France. Her civilizing influence, but just 
established in Tonking, was henceforth extended into the 
Chinese province of Yunnan. 



The construction of a railway from Laokay to Mongzeu 
and Yunnan Fou was by no means easy. Distrust on the 
part of the Chinese Government had to be appeased, the 
difficulties overcome, which the nature of the country af- 
forded, heavy loans had to be contracted, and above all it 
was necessary in spite of every sort of difficulty to preserve 
an unshaken faith in final success. The enterprise was ^ 
one worthy to do honour to the genius of the French ! 

The "Pxailway Company of Indo-China and Yunnan" has 
published a detailed narrative of the laying of the line. It 
is most interesting reading. 

The treaty with China in 1885 provided for railways in 
Chinese provinces. Already in 1887 a scheme for Indo- 
China in conjunction with Yunnan had been elaborated by 
the French Government. 

After the China-Japanese war France obtained from Pe- 
king, by the treaty of April 10th 1898, the concession of a 
railway fromTonking to Yunnan Fou. Two lines were pro- 
posed by the engineers, one by the valley of Sin-Chien, the 
region of the lakes and Sinz-Hsim, the other by the valley 
of Namti, Amitcheou, the valley of Pataho and Yleang. 

The former which was first adopted was condemned la- 
ter in consequence of the absence of material for construc- 
tion and the difficulties of the country. The final scheme 
was approved by the Governor General of Indo-China in 
January 25th 1904. It was a new one and far more costly 
for instead of 90 Millions francs as at first estimated, it 
amounted to 158 Million, 

The work of construction began at once. In 1905 the 
scheme of organisation was completed in spite of the revolt 
of native tribes in Kotieou. From 1906 to 1908 there was a 
period of great activity. Thirty thousand coolies were at 
work at one and the same time. But in 1909 the revolu- 
tionary unrest in China reached Yunnan and threatened 
the line. The town of Hokeou on the Namti opposite Lao- 



kay fell into the hands of the insurgents. The work was 
finished nevertheless and the railway reached Yunnan Fou 
on April 1st 1910. 

The Yunnan line measures 465 kilometres from Laokay 
to Yunnan Fou. It is of one metre gauge with curves of a 
minimum radius of 100 metres. The maximum gradient 
is 1 in 40 on two sections and 1 in 66 on the remainder of 
the line. There are 155 tunnels of a total length of 18 kilo- 
metres and nearly 100 bridges of over lOmetres span. Other 
works include 3000 masonry culverts and 1500 retaining 

The line, after first following a tributary of the Red River, 
the Namti, crosses at a height of 1710 metres the basins of 
the Red River and Canton River. It then descends to Ami- 
tcheou, climbs up the gorge of the Pataho, then of the 
Tachento, crosses the high ground which separates the ba- 
sins of the Canton River and the Yangtsekiang, and at an 
altitude of 2030 metres reaches the plain of Yunnan Fou. 

Geologically the railway may be divided into three zones, 
the first, from Laokay to Milati consisting of schists and 
limestones, the second of Milati with its lake basin of ti- 
rassic limestones and the third, beyond Amitcheou, in 
which carboniferous rocks predominate. 

The difficulties of execution were considerable, for at the 
start the line Hanoi-Laokay could not be counted on. It 
was a country hostile to foreigners, unhealthy, and without 
resources. The work was directed from head quarters at 
Mongzeu an open town, which was then 50 days distant 
from Hanoi. The descent from Mongzeu was by a road 
called the "ten thousand staircases" which passed through 
Manhao. It took 30 days to Manhao. From there to Laokay 
one could at times travel fairly quickly by boat though at the 
risk of getting drowned in the rapids, but to ascend the river 
on the return journey it took twenty days. The work at the 
mouth of the Namti was the most difficult of all. As if the 


obstructions of nature were not sufficient, to them were ad- 
ded terrible epidemics and a deadly malaria which took 
toll of thousands of victims. During the five years it was 
necessary to recruit a total of 60.700 men. In 1906, 15.000 
Chinese and 7000 Annamese were being employed at the 
same time, while over 12.000 pack animals were needed. 
The work of revictualling alone can be imagined. The fee- 
ding of coolies for one year necessitated 6.485.000 kilo- 
grammes of rice. Payment was made in piastres which 
had to be sent from Tonking. For one month, 500.000 of 
these coins were necessary representing a weight of 14.000 

The medical service had to face immense responsibilities. 
There were ten big ambulances for the conveyance of 
10.440 sick natives. Every European was in hospital five 
times on an average. Epidemics and sickness were respon- 
sible for or carried off 12.000 natives and nearly one hun- 
dred Europeans. 

Though the line was less than 500 kilometres in length, 
the engineering works necessary were unexampled in their 
complexity. It is enough to quote a few figures which are 
eloquent of the great work accomplished. 

The cuttings required 155.900 cubic metres of excavation 
and there are 16.598.531 cubic metres of embankment. 
A total of half a million tons of masonry required 9000 tons 
of cement. There are 3422 special works on this line, which 
means more than seven to a kilometre. Many were re- 
markably bold in execution and might serve as models 
in Europe and America. Engineers used every modern 
technical device but without the intelligent workmen and 
perfect tools at the service of great enterprises in other 
countries. Some of these works must be mentioned in 

The bridge over the Namti which unites Laokay and the 
Chinese town of Hokeou is a metallic bridge 120 metres long 


and is the principal means of uniting Tonking and China. 
The engineering triumphs all along the gorge of the Namti 
follow one another in rapid succession. At kilometre 64 
we find a bridge over one of its tributaries, then at kilo- 
metre 83 a masonry viaduct of two spans of 10 metres. 
The line soon rises on a gradient of 1 in 40 so as to sur- 
mount the precipitous cirque where the Namti rushes from 
fall to fall for a length of more than 1500 metres. At kilo- 
metre 83 there is a steel viaduct of 17 spans of 8 metres. 
At 95 another viaduct, at 96 an arched bridge of 10 metres 
span at the top Wantang falls, and at kilometre 111 
the famous bridge with a three-hinged steel arch of 65 me- 
tres span. This was conceived and executed by the engi- 
neer Paul Bodin. It is a work of art of which there was no- 
thing analogous in the whole world at that epoch. 


A very rugged and mountainous country, unnavigable rivers 
and great difficulties of access, have all contributed to 
make Yunnan an independent province. For a long time 
the original populations successfully maintained a state 
of isolation which China was unable to penetrate. In the 
end, however, they could no longer carry on the struggle 
which had lasted for centuries and the country became a 
Chinese province. 

Awaiting the development of the future China, the de- 
stiny of Yunnan must of necessity remain mysterious and 

It is only during the reign of the Emperor Han Kao Ti 
of the Han dynasty that Chinese historians first begin to 
discuss the Western regions of China. Yunnan is men- 
tioned in their books in 226 B.C. 

There were attempts at Chinese intervention in 106 B.C. 
and again in the third and eighth centuries A.D. The Chiefs 
of some of the independent tribes recognizing the necessity 
of union if they wished to resist against China, chose out 
and put themselves under the authority of a king. Soldiers 
and money were placed at his disposal. The most celebra- 
ted of these kings was Kin Lung who fought against China 
and took Tonking, after having plundered Hanoi and kil- 
led more than 40.000 of its inhabitants. 

It was only at the end of the 17th Century that Yunnan 


was conquered by China. This succes was due to General 
Wu-San-Kuei who played a great role in the annals of the 
country. Having restored the Tartar Dynasty he acquired 
extraordinary powers and great credit at the Court of Pekin. 
He took advantage of this to extend Chinese domination 
into the more distant provinces of the Empire. 

Yunnan was pacified by force of arms. It was then a 
half barbarous country, little cultivated. Forests covered 
the greater part of the land where elephants and tigers 
roamed at will. The people were in a state of civilization 
far inferior to that of China. They had already however 
learnt to make use of the metals of the country and had 
manufactured arms. Although lance and sabre were not 
uncommon they preferred their bows and arrows. 

Wu-San-Kuei pursued the conquest of the country with 
skill and method. Allowing the native chiefs a certain in- 
dependence he succeeded in opposing one against the other. 
He gained the good- will of the people by his sound admi- 
nistration and a profound knowledge of their needs. It 
was an example of Chinese colonization at its best and was 
destined to leave a lasting impression. But the work of Wu- 
San-Kuei was not understood in Pekin. Recalled in disgrace, 
the General made up his mind to retaliate by leading an 
open rebellion. He declared Yunnan independent. It was 
not until a few years later that the control of Pekin was 
again established in the country. 

Since that epoch Yunnan has remained under Chinese 
domination, a domination more effective in the towns than 
in the mountains but hated everywhere. There have been 
continual revolts. 

The most celebrated insurrection was that of 1856 1873. 
It was called the "Mussulman Insurrection" because it was 
headed by the Yunnanese Mussulmans who had always suf- 
fered at the hands of the Chinese mandarins. Vexatious 
measures and cruel laws had alwavs been enforced for their 


repression. Public worship was forbidden as also the buil- 
ding of temples. In certain centres they were herded toge- 
ther like cattle. 

These Mussulmans were originally connected with a 
group of Arab sailors who had landed at Canton in the 
7th Century. After having pillaged the suburbs of the town 
they had followed in the wake of caravans of merchants 
or pirates towards the mountains and had settled in the high 
lands of Yunnan. They were calles "Paultes" a name bor- 
rowed from the Burmese language the signification of which 
is unknown. In other parts of China they were called "Hoi- 
hoi" while they themselves claimed the title of "religious- 
people" (kia-mum) in opposition to that of pagans. There 
are, according to E. Reclus, 20 millions in the whole of 
China. Descendants of Tangoutes, Tartars, Onigours and 
Arabs, they form in no sense a homogeneous ethnical 
group. Whole provinces such as Kousou are Mussulman. 
The Rebellion however began in Yunnan. In the north it 
only became general four years later, in 1860. 

Yunnan and Kousou were laid waste and the struggle, 
marked by terrible Asiatic atrocities and savage deeds, lasted 
fifteen years. On the Chinese side alone a million men 
perished (E. Reclus). 

The principal episodes of the Mussulman revolution have 
been described by E.Rocherwho was an eye witness of many 
of them. Let him serve us as guide in the dramatic history 
of this province in which thrilling details are not wanting. 

At the beginning of 1856 the opening of a mine attracted 
a great many workers to Shits Yang Chang, a Mussulman 
district where the Chinese are hated. The latter succeed 
nevertheless in taking possession of the best workings and 
try to exile the Mussulmans. The struggle begins which 
lead to grave disorders and bloodshed in the mine. 

The Governor of the province frightened by his respon- 
sibilities commits suicide. The Chinese there-upon give vent 


to their most savage instincts and a general massacre of the 
Mussulmans is decreed. It begins on May 19th 1856 but is 
only partially successful. 

The Mussulmans capture Talifou an impregnable citadel 
defended by steep mountains and immense lakes. This 
ancient capital of seven kingdoms is as splendid and vast a 
town as Yunnan Foil. 

The defence was organized. The Mussulmans gave the 
command to Ma Te Hsung a man who owed his ascen- 
dency over his followers to his reputation both for holiness 
and wisdom. He had also travelled widely. He had been 
on a pilgrimage to Mecca; he could read the verses of the 
Koran in Arabic. From his seven years travel in Asia, in 
Egypt, and later in Europe, he had brought back a broad 
view of life which helped him to a clear understanding of 
the men and things of his own country. Ma Te Hsung, 
dictator, chose as General, Ma Tsieu who played a consi- 
derable part in the Mussulman Revolution. His family had 
intended him for the priesthood. He had been a pupil of 
Ma Te Hsung who had taught him Arabic. He especially 
excelled in all physical exercises and by them had acqui- 
red the strength and endurance which served him well in 
the hard career of war. A brother whom he loved was kil- 
led by the Chinese. This incident filled him with a deadly 
hatred of them. When he found himself at the head of an 
army of 20.000 men composed chiefly of Mussulmans and 
Lolos, no force could at first resist his fanatical soldiers. 
They occupied a great number of important towns among 
others Ami-Tcheou but they were repulsed before Mong- 
zeu and Yunnan Fou. 

The country was in the greatest state of anarchy and the 
government troops were quite incapable of restoring order 
again. When Ma-Tsieu realized this he decided to lay siege 
to Yunnan Fou. It was the third time that the unhappy 
town had been besieged. No resistance was possible. The 





Capital was just about to surrender to Ma-Tsieu who would 
then have become master of the situation and incontestable 
ruler of the country when a most unexpected action on his 
part changed the whole trend of events. Ma-Tsieu betrays 
the Mussulmans and goes over to the Government. From 
this moment he is the most valuable auxiliary of the Chinese 
Imperial party. Henceforth he turns against the people of 
his faith and never ceases to be a traitor to them. 

Ma-Tsieu, from this time forward, called himself Majulung 
a name which became illustrious in his struggle against the 
Mussulmans. These had been at first absolutely disconcerted 
at the base defection of their general but soon they found 
in Tu-Wen-Hsin a successor more worthy of them. Tu- 
Wen-Hsing became the true hero of the struggle for Mus- 
sulman independence. He died gloriously when all hope 
of conquest was lost. 

The north of Yunnan was still in the hands of the rebels. 
They were solidly intrenched and sometimes sent expedi- 
tions against Yunnan Fou. One of these, stronger than most, 
at last succeeded in capturing the capital; the viceroy was 
put to death and replaced by the dictator Ma Te Hsung. Ma- 
julung however, who had been absent during these events, 
returns and drives out once more the Mussulman army. 
Ma Te Hsung there-upon also betrays the Mussulman cause 
and throws in his lot with Majulung. Majulung sends him 
North to negotiate terms of peace with the rebels but the 
mission was a complete failure and Majulung revenged 
himself by laying siege to Talifou. His army repulsed how- 
ever with great loss returned to Yunnan Fou. 

In Setchouen also and on the boundaries of the province 
the independent tribes were in revolt. The situation of the 
Government troops was becoming as bad as possible. Ma- 
julung, recognizing from his own experience that his sol- 
diers were more than ready to pass over to the enemy, 
stopped the movement by wholesale executions. The Mus- 


sulmans held the greater part of the country and advanced 
on the capital itself. 

The Central Government at Pekin was at last roused and, 
judging the situation alarming, decided to send re-inforce- 
ments and subsidies. A new general, Fu-Sai was named. He 
quickly gained renown by the sack of the town of Cheng 
Chiang lying on the border of the great lake of Yunnan Fou. 
In the annals of this war where atrocities were the com- 
mon order of the day, special preeminence must be re- 
served for Cheng Chiang. The siege of the town had al- 
ready lasted several months when the besiegers conceived 
the idea of changing the course of a river to isolate it more 
completely. Vanquished thus by famine and unable to 
oppose further resistance the defenders fled. They left be- 
hind however the women children and aged to the number 
of some 6000. They counted perhaps on the pity of the 
conquerors for these non-combatants! It was a slow metho- 
dical and merciless slaughter such as the Chinese alone know 
how to organize. No old mans life was spared. They were 
given over to the soldiers who put them to atrocious tortures. 
The w r omen and children were also tortured. Many threw 
themselves into the wells to escape their executioners. The 
viceroy to whom the honour of the capitulation fell, feared 
that these excesses might appear blame-worthy at Pekin. 
He therefore threw the responsibility for them on the Gene- 
rals. These, furious, raised their swords threateningly against 
the great mandarin. They were immediately bound hand 
and foot and tortured under his eyes. And, according to 
Chinese custom, the families of these generals were hunted 
down, taken prisoners and put to death. 

After fearful struggles, massacres and intrigues, after the 
sack of Kuang I and the occupation of Lui An, the last 
Mussulman citadel of Yunnan fell into the hand of the Im- 
perial Chinese. 

Tali Fou was practically at their mercy when Tu-Wen- 


Tsieu the hero of independence decided to bring the 
struggle to an end. The notorious desertion of Majulung 
and Ma Te Hsung had been followed by many others and 
the country, ruined, was tired of the war. 

Tu-Wen-Hsieu, betrayed by so many followers, sacrificed 
himself to save Tali Fou from the horrors of being captured 
by storm. The Imperial Government had promised to 
spare the town if it surrendered unconditionally. Without 
any illusion as to the fate which awaited the members of his 
family he put them all to death. Then he dressed himself 
in his richest robes and ascended an improvised throne 
decorated with curtains of golden yellow which is the em- 
blem of sovereign power. The crowd acclaimed him for 
a last time and he was borne through the unviolated door 
of the Citadel in order to give himself up to Fu-Sai. This 
was on January 15th 1873. When the Chinese Governor saw 
the procession advancing he could not control his great joy. 
He signalled to the chair bearers to stop in order that he 
might triumph over the spectacle of the vanquished enemy. 
As there was no movement within the chair he himself flung 
aside the gold brocade curtains. Tu-Wen-Hsieu was dead. 
Before crossing the ramparts of Tali-Fou he had taken a 
poison composed of opium vinegar and peacock's dung 
which and done its work. 

Fu Sai had the corpse decapitated and sent the head 
steeped in honey to the ministers at Pekin. In order to get 
rid of the other chiefs, Fu Sai invited them to a great ban- 
quet, and at a given signal had them all decapitated. Then 
to prevent any tendency to create mischief at Tali Fou he 
ordered the extermination of the inhabitants. The number 
of the victims is estimated at 30.000. Fu Sai did not at- 
tempt to minimize the extent of the slaughter. The plun- 
der that he is said to have sent to the capital is proof enough 
of this 17 heads of the most illustrious chiefs and 24 large 
baskets filled with human ears sown together in pairs 


formed the burden of 12 packhorses. Some towns still 
showed resistance. Among the most celebrated defenders, 
Meng Hua Hsieu deserves mention. When all means of 
resistance were exhausted, he ordered furniture, food, grain 
and animals to be burnt and the old men, women and 
children to be poisoned. Then with his warriors he set 
fire to the four corners of the town. Finally they made a 
heroic sortie from which none returned. (November 1873.) 

Thus the insurrection terminated at the end of 1873 and 
it left Yunnan ruined for a long period. 

The establishment of the French in Indo-China marks a 
new era for Yunnan. China who had hindered their action 
in Tonkin still continued to send armed bands and regular 
troops from Yunnan. The treaty of June 9th 1886 which 
recognized the souzeranity of France in Tonkin had provi- 
ded for railway concessions. For some years the French 
had possessed important information about Yunnan owing 
to their explorers Doudard de Lagree Francis Gamier, De 
Laporte, Goubert, Jean Dupuis, Morel, Rocher, &c. The 
first study for the Yunnan railways dates from 1887 while 
the concession is only given on April 9th 1898. 

In June 1898 an anti-foreign movement arose in Mong- 
zeu an open port and the residence of the French Consul. 
The French Consulate was burnt, the Europeans insulted 
and threatened. The telegrams which succeeded in passing 
from Mongzeu to Hanoi were of the most alarming nature. 
The Consul declared that the French w r ould be massacred 
if the troops intervened. A few batallions were mobilized 
at Laokay but nothing else was done. When the Consul 
re-occupied his post the question was raised whether he 
should not be given an escort to be re-inforced from time 
to time till a little garrison should be formed at Mongzeu. 
But the idea was not carried out. 

Less than a year later the Chinese emboldened by French 
inaction rose again and this time obliged the French to eva- 


cuate the country and the Consul to leave his post. The 
country in which the French, by treaty, had acquired special 
rights and where their economic action was considerable, 
had perforce to be abandoned for nine months. 

In August 1901 the French Consulate was again occupied, s* w% 
There was a pretence at official excuses from the Chinese 
mandarins and splendid promises were made. No guarantee 
for the protection of French colonials was demanded how- 
ever nor for the safeguard of vested interests. 

A fe\v years later the Yunnan Railway by Namti, Ami- 
tcheou, the Potaho vally and Tchang which had been ap- 
proved by the Governor General of Indochina on January 
25th 1904 was at the point of completion. On April 1th 1910 
Haiphong was joined by rail to Yunnan Fou and the line 
was in working order along the whole route. 

The Chinese Revolution of 1911 which terminated by 
the proclamation of the Republic had its effect on Yunnan. 
The revolutionary army commanded by General Tsai took 
Yunnan Fou. But the new regime w r as established without 
stirring up appreciable prejudice against foreigners and 
there seemed no sufficient motive for intervention. 

From October 30th to November 20th 19H the capital 
passed through a troubled period of which the events from 
day to day have been recorded by Monsieur Cordier. 

The opposition of the Imperial Government w r as almost 
nil. The high mandarins conscious of their powerlessness 
organized no active resistance. At the last moment the vice- 
roy Ly Kinh Che escaped owing to the action of 50 men 
of his guard who died to the last man. 

General Tsong fell bravely. One of his followers avenged 
his death by killing with his own hand three revolutionaries. 
He was cut to pieces. The telegraph operators were massa- 
cred at their posts Chinese refusing to give up their ma- 
chines. The treasurer Ghe, to save his family, left his hiding 
place, delivered himself up to the rebels and w r as shot. 


Hio-Tai Ye, the Minister of Public Instruction, much 
envied on account of his high rank as a Manchou was 
forced to commit suicide. Brought dying to the French 
hospital he was cured by Dr. Vadon, who later succeeded 
in protecting him from the hostile populace. Hia, Com- 
missioner of Foreign Affairs, took advantage of the French 
Consulate, as did many of his compatriots, to ask for the 
right of asylum. Mr. Wilden in spite of threats of fire or 
death managed to keep these rights respected. 

It needed all the courage and wit of our Consul to save 
the viceroy and it was a triumph when he was finally em- 
barked for Tonking in a special train and actually saluted 
at the station by General Tsai himself. The. other high 
Imperial mandarins passed into the revolutionary ranks. 

The number of victims in the capital has been estimated 
at 200. It appears that the corpses were abandoned in the 
street, most with the belly slit up. The liver had disappea- 
red. It is still a custom in China to eat the liver of one's enemy. 

The neutrality of the railway was not violated thanks to 
the energy of the French. One Manchou officer was killed 
however in Yunnan Fou station and armed troops were 
sent by train to quell the troubles at Mongzeu. 

In this town a regiment had revolted. The houses of 
Europeans had been looted and burnt. The French Con- 
sulate had been fired on by the Chinese. Today traces of 
shot may still be seen on the principal outer door. 

The situation was more re-assuring at Yunnan Fou owing 
to the measures taken by General Tsai. The British and 
French Consuls had received notification of the proclama- 
tion which made China a Republic, and Yunnan under- 
took to keep order and to protect Europeans. On the 
night of October 31th an officer was sent officially to the 
French Consulate asking in spite of the late hour (it was 
one a. m.) for an immediate audience. Mr. Wilden was ill 
and could not get up; he was suffering from a wound in the 


leg. The Chinese officer booted, spurred and armed to the 
teeth having put aside his equipment,was at length admitted. 
He informed the Consul of the intentions of General Tsai, 
adding eloquent declarations and opinions aboutNapoleon I 
and the French Revolution. 

Who was, then, this General Tsai who seemed capable 
of directing events and of playing so leading and great a part 
in Yunnan? 

Yesterday but a simple officer under the protection of 
the viceroy Ly, he was today Dictator, with all the powers 
of Commander in Chief and Viceroy. He is of Hounan 
origin and a member of an honourable family. He received 
a solid education and during his seven years in Japan he 
passed through the high military school of Tokio. On his 
return he was made director of the military school of 
Songtcheou and it was from there that the viceroy Ly sent 
for him to Yunnan to take command of a regiment. At 30 
he became general of the 72nd brigade of the 19th division. 
His well-known opinions and great personal influence 
caused him to be unanimously chosen as the leader of the 
revolutionary army of Yunnan. As we have already seen, 
the conquest of Yunnan Fou and the overthrow of the 
Manchou regime presented no difficulty to him. 

The difficulties began when the insurrection had to be 
suppressed and a new authority imposed. The soldiers 
well disciplined remained so when the capital was taken. 
They did not indulge in the excesses which marked the 
progress of the revolution in other towns and even in Pekin. 
A few Yamens of high mandarins were pillaged but no- 
thing more serious occurred. And it is noteworthy that 
the security of the Europeans was never threatened in 
Yunnan Fou. 

The Chinese population was at times stirred by agitators 
who hoped to fish in troubled waters. The horrors which 
night ensue from the intervention of French troops was made 


much of in order to rouse their excitement. Neverthless 
no irreparable outrage, took place and calm continued to 
reign. Though it was settled to send away all the Euro- 
pean w r omen on November 24th it was only for a short 
period, and from that time to this the greatest quiet has 
prevailed at Yunnan Fou. 

Mongzeu did no fare so well for there the troops mutinied. 
General Tsai sent for them, w r ith orders to come to the 
capital by the winding mountain paths. At each halting 
place dangerous leaders were got rid of by summary exe- 
cutions. Two Colonels disappeared thus. The rest of the 
army was sent off on different pretexts to Setchouen and 

The policy of General Tsai who remained unceasingly 
on the w r atch, thus the intrigues of his enemies and of the 
extreme parties. He has brought to the country an era of 
real prosperity. The fidelity of his guards permitted him 
to emerge safe and sound on the occasion of the "Arsenal 
plot" when a group of soldiers attempted to seize the arms. 
The vicetoutou implicated in the affair was given the title 
of "Peace-maker of the West" and a flattering mission 
which would keep him abroad and out of mischief for a 
long time. Above all General Tsai undertook with untiring 
energy the re-organization of the army. There are now 
actually two divisions fully equipped besides 40.000 men 
in the reserves. 

The men are well-trained and one division is always in 
readinessto take the offensive. The manoeuvres are con- 
ducted on Japanese lines. The Yunnanese soldier is dres- 
sed as a European. He is of solid appearance, well paid, 
and makes an excellent impression. 

At Yunnan Fou there is a military school and also an 
arsenal where arms and ammunition are manufactured. 

The reform of education and developement have been 
nowhere pursued with more method and perseverance 


than in Yunnan. There are many kinds of schools and all 
frequented by a great number of students. Women, who 
were formerly refused, are now also received. 

In foreign affairs the personal influence of General Tsai 
was also considerable. In order to get rid of contingents 
whose loyalty was doubtful and also to save their pay he 
organized an expedition to Tibet. It was successfully carried 
out and a treaty of peace with the Dalai Lama was signed, 
which proved of great advantage to Yunnan. 

Setchouen and Kouetcheou were pacified by Yunnanese 
troops. One of Tsai's lieutenants was made viceroy of 
Setchouen. This province paid for his services by a con- 
tribution of 100000 dollars. 

Yunnan with its separatist tendencies and its state of in- 
dependence might have played an important part in the 
South of China during the revolution. But General Tsai 
wisely resisted the suggestions of local parties and his own 
natural ambitions. In August 1913 he pronounced in fa- 
vour of the Central Government and declared himself a 
partisan of Yuan-Si-Kai. In the recent struggles between 
North and South, his neutrality must have been appreciated. 

Yunnan which in the past had proved nothing but an 
element of weakness for China, has become, owing to the 
wise Government of General Tsai an element of strength 
and stability. For Indo-China, the change has been fruitful 
of nothing but good, permitting as it does of closer and 
more economic relations. 



THERE is probably no other country in the world where 
so many different races have collected as in Yunnan. Cut 
off by high mountain ridges the various plateaux are almost 
inaccessible. Unnavigable rivers make invincible obstacles 
to man's progress. In early times, various tribes emigrated 
from Tibet. Others driven from their land by the Chinese 
or the Hindoos took refuge from their oppressors in 
Yunnan. These peoples developed for a long time side by 
side without intermingling in any way. Each kept its own 
language and customs and each remained free and inde- 

The first blow to their liberty came from China. It was ine- 
vitable that this powerful Eastern neighbour would in pro- 
cess of expansion come into collision with these minor 
races of Yunnan. Their incursions began twenty centuries 
ago but it was not till the l?th Century that a regular cam- 
paign was undertaken by General Wu-San-Kuoi. Even to- 
^ a y tne Chinese on ty comprise one third of the Yunnanese 
population and many of the more ancient tribes have ma- 
naged to retain their independence. 

There had been nevertheless an attempt at political unity 
in the 8th Century when Piloko, gathered under his rule 
the six principal Yunnan principalities. 

On the western side however all endeavours at penetra- 
tion were unsuccessful due probably to the barrier made 



by 3 parallel rivers the Seu-mai-Kai-Kiang, the Salouen 
and the Mekong. On the contrary the Thai solidly established 
in Yunnan overflowed into Burmah. 

At the beginning of the 19th Century there were more 
than fifty different races in Yunnan. For the most part the 
religion is Buddhism but in many cases it is so deformed as 
to be unrecognizable. 

A complete study of the Yunnan races would give us a key 
to the ethnology of all the yellow races. But the difficulties 
are considerable. The observations of explorers and mis- 
sionaries do not agree and are made from different stand- 
points. A comprehensive study is needed. The Chinese have 
produced many reports but they are all either for purposes o f 
administration or of a philosophical or literary nature. Eth- 
nological research must go hand in hand with the study 
of the languages. The great diversity of these however ap- 
pals the pioneer. 

What is needed is coordination of the records already 

The documents which treat of the Yunnanese peoples 
are nearly all of recent date. There is also an administrative 
report of a Chinese official Che-Fan written about 1807. It 
is contained in a chapter of a big work translated into 
French by Georges Soulie and Tchang-Yi-Tch6ou. It is 
interesting from an ethnological and geographical point of 
view. Its title "The subdued Barbarians of Yunnan" is 
reminiscent of Ancient Borne to the Chinese as to the 
Bomans all foreigners are barbarians. 

Che-Fan states of the Ts'ouan barbarians that they re- 
semble the Lolos but they do not seem to represent to day 
an important element. The Lolos who are also to be found 
in the basin of the Black Biver in Tonking are a shy people- 
hiding in mountains difficult of access. The numerous 
tribes differ one from another. They are a proud, courageous 
and independent race presenting many types of good phy- 


sique. The men wear their hair long and pluck out that 
of moustache and beard. The women's hair is left free 
and unkempt. The Lolos possess sacred books of very early 
origin. Wives and daughters of a tributary chief without 
male heirs can claim the succession to his power and wealth. 
The author names a long-list of Lolo tribes. The princi- 
pal division has two branches only white Lolos and black 

The Po-Yi, unlike the Lolos inhabit the low and mar- 
shy districts. Certain Po-Yi tribes correspond to the Thai 
of to-day. The nobles who govern the country dress richly, 
their costumes are ornamented with gold and precious 
stones. They ignore Chinese writing. Robbery is almost 
unknown among Po-Yi, for theft was punished by the death 
of the guilty person and all his family. The whole village 
underwent capital punishment when it was a case of rob- 
bery with violence. The condition of the women was 
very low. 

Other races described by Che-Fan as resembling the Lo- 
los are the Wo-Ni, the Mon-Ki and the Pou-La, those as 
resembling the Tibetans are the Mo-So, the La-Ma and the 
Kou-Tsong. These last are described as the "Stinking 
Barbarians" because, according to the author, they are dir- 
ty and let forth a disagreable smell. In this race the bro- 
thers of a family all marry the same wife and when there 
ar six or seven children, the community takes a second wife. 

The Ton-Lao and the Pou-Jen represent the Thai sub- 

In this medley of widely differing races, there are some 
exceedingly primitive types, such as the Ha-La. They are 
jet black and hardly look like men. The Ya-Jen again live 
in the trees and build no houses. Their hair is red and their 
eyes yellow. Their customs are so cruel and savage that 
they have drawn on themselves the reprobation of all their 
neighbours, and are fast becoming exterminated. 


Commandant Bonifacy, Georges Soulie, d'Ollones, Cour- 
tellemont, Fourias, Vial, Lunet de la Jonquiere have all 
published works which throw light on this subject. There 
are also published from time to time reports and articles 
on behalf of the "Ecole Franchise d'Extreme Orient". 

But the most important work on the Yunnan races is 
from the pen of an Englishman Davies. We will give a 
rapid outline. 

Davies remarks the absence of geographical unity in the 
country and gives it as a reason why all these many peoples 
could never be fused into one. 

The classification of Davies is based on language though 
all the dialects are not yet known. There are however four 
great divisions: the Chinese, the Tibet-Burmans, the Tai 
and the Mon-Khmer. 

Here is the table as Davies give it: 
I. Chinese. 
II. Tibeto-Burmans. 

1. Tibetans. 

2. Hsi-Fan. 

3. Lo-Lo. 

4. Burmans. 

5. Kachin. 

III. Thai or Shan. 

IV. Mon-Khmer. 

2. Mans. 

3. Min-Chia. 

4. Wa-Palaung. 

Davies describes the principal characteristics of each 


Their appearance in Yunnan dates back 2000 years. They 
came as soldiers and remained as colonists. Following 
their invariable custom, they took wives in the country 


and established a halfcast race which inherited their lan- 
guage and habits. The Chinese Empire has always levied 
taxes in Yunnan more or less heavy according to the par- 
ticular vagaies of its rulers. 


The Tibetans occupy the territory to the North-West of 
Yunnan. They are tall and remarkably strong, and their 
skin is brick red. They wear a long garment turned up round 
the waist, a soft felt hat or turban and felt boots. The wo- 
men's costume varies in different localities. Their dwellings 
are well constructed and often have more than one storey. 
Barley is their principal article of cultivation though wheat 
is also important. They eat it with butter. Their favou- 
rite drink is tea. Their distrust of foreigners is extreme. 
They are Buddhists. They are a people upon whom Chinese 
influences make little impression. s^ 

The Lo-Los constitute the most populous race of Eastern 
China and are largely represented in Yunnan. They are of 
good physique and their skin is fair. The most perfect 
types are to be found in Setchouen. The typical costume 
of the Northern Lo-Los is the felt cloak adopted by men 
and women alike as a shelter from the cold and rain. 
It is gray and drops from the neck to the knees. The 
Lo-Los who live in the mountains of Taliang-Shan bet- 
ween the valley of Chien-Chang and the Yangtse are 
completely independent and do not recognize Chinese 
rule. The Chinese describe them as drunkards and pirates. 
But those to be met with in Yunnan are on the contrary 
hospitable and of gentle habits. They look upon the Chinese 
as hereditary enemies after a long struggle against absorb- 
tion by them. In some districts they have copied the 
Chinese dress. The women wear a blue petticoat however 
under their blue trousers and the tunic has no sleeves. 

The general term "Lo-Lo" is not one in use among the 


Lo-Lo tribes themselves. Davies gives the names of their 
tribes as the Li-So, the La-Hu, the Wo-Ni, the Asi and the 
Maru. These last resemble the Gurkas of India. The Li- 
So occupy the Saloven valley. Their villages are almost 
inaccessible. They are a peaceful people whereas the La- 
Hu who occupy the Mekong valley are agressive. The Wo- 
Ni inhabit the mountain regions of Keng-Toung, the Asi 
and the La-Shi the country on the Burmese frontier, while 
the Marus live along the banks of the Irrawady. 


The Thai or Shan people are very numerous, and oc- 
cupy vast territories to the west extending as far as Assam. 
In India they have been absorbed by the Hindoos but in 
Burmah Siam and Tonking they have remained distinct. 
They are to be found in several Chinese provinces and in 
the North of Yunnan. The Thai resemble the Chinese of 
Canton. For a long time they formed an independent 
kingdom which the Chinese called Namchao and of which 
Talifou was the capital. 

The Thai are small but well made. They are of a distinct 
Mongol type with yellow skin. They are a friendly people 
but very jealous of their independence. There is a great diver- 
sity of costumes, language and habits among the Thai 
tribes. Some of their women wear an immensely high tur- 
ban. The Thais are generally Buddhist. They live almost 
entirely in the valleys. Having driven other tribes into the 
mountains they rule supreme in the rich valleys. They 
are great rice growers like the Annamese. They are suppo- 
sed to have emigrated from Kouang and Fou-Kien. 


The Mon-Khmer people comprise the races of the Meo, the 
Man, the Min-Chia and the Wa-Palaung, who speak Cam- 
bodgian or Khmer and Mon. The two languages, Cambod- 


gian and Mon, belong to the same family. The Mon- 
Khmer are the original inhabitants of Southern Yunnan 
and Indo-China. They have been absorbed by other races 
such as the Lo-Lo and the Annamese. 

The M6o came from the Chinese provinces of Koeitcheou 
and Hounan, only three or four generations ago. They are 
to be found in the South of Yunnan and in Tonking. The 
Mo can be recognized by the white petticoat of their 
women which is turned up round the waist and descends to 
the knees. Both sexes have adopted the dark blue turban. 
The women wear big silver earings. Many Meo women 
are considered beautiful even by European eyes. They 
call themselves "Mong" or "Muong" and only live in the 

The Man come from the Chinese frontier. They are to 
be found in the South of Yunnan, in Kouangsi and Ton- 
king but only in the hilly parts. They are remarkably 

The Min Chia are the Lama Yen mentioned by Prince 
Henri of Orleans. They inhabit the regions of Talifou and 
Lichiangfou. They have adopted the Chinese language and 
customs but their women do not deform their feet. 







THE first thing that strikes the new comer on first seeing 
the Yunnanese is their robust and healthy appearance. 
Even though one expects a mountain race to be ruddier 
and stronger limbed than a people of the plains, we were 
hardly prepared for so great a contrast as they presented 
to the Tonkinese of the Delta and aboriginal populations of 
the lower districts. The vitality and vigour emanating, not 
only from the peasants in the villages and fields but even 
from those in the filthiest and most over crowded streets of 
the capital, called forth our surprise and admiration. 

Although their country is so mountainous the Yunnanese 
only live on the high plateaux, for they consider the cli- 
mate unhealthy under an altitude of 4000 feet. They leave 
the valleys between the mountains to the Thans. This deep- 
seated prejudice against the lower-lying districts is not al- 
together unfounded. There are some valleys such as the 
Pai-Ho gorge through which the railway line passes which 
are disastrous to the health both of Europeans and natives. 
Nevertheless their fears are often exaggerated. Baggage 
and chair coolies who have accompanied travellers for 
weeks across China coming one day to a certain valley 
will desert their master incontinently and return home. 
Sometimes they can be persuaded to go into the dreaded 
district while daylight lasts but nothing, not even high pay- 
ment, will induce them to sleep a night there. Before com- 



plete darkness falls they disappear. This precaution for their 
health testified by their adhering thus persistently to the 
wonderful climate and dry atmosphere of the high plateaux 
makes their manner of life in the walled cities and villages all 
the more astonishing. But it is just because the air is so pure 
that they can afford to neglect the most primitive rules of 
hygiene and yet keep perfectly well and strong. At first sight 
the Yunnanese seem clean and neat. The linen tunic in all 
shades of dark and light blue, which is the ordinary every day 
apparel gives this appearance, but one has only to examine 
their clothing in detail to see that the first impression is de- 
ceptive. It is as rare to find a Japanese with stained or dirty 
clothing as it is rare to see a Yunnanese quite spotless and 
immaculate. Though his outer tunic is clean, his underclo- 
thing and skin are often encrusted with dirt. The best traits 
in the character of the Yunnanese can never attract the 
European as would a daily indulgence in a hot bath after the 
example of the Japanese. In Japan your rickshaw coolie 
will tug from his belt a perfectly clean white square to mop 
his brow. In Yunnan, with very few exceptions, not a single 
individual from your chair coolie to the mandarin who in 
gorgeous costume offers you tea in priceless cups, gives 
you a feeling of perfect cleanliness. 

The cut of the Chinese garment is the same for rich and 
poor with but very slight differences for men and women. 
The tunic hangs straight and must never cling to the body, 
it is considered bad taste and immodest to show the lines 
of the figure. Though the cut is the same for all, the 
materials differ, the blue linen of the peasant being replaced 
by rich brocades and superbly embroidered silks for the 
mandarin. The materials themselves are usually of de- 
delicate shades, only in the silk embroidery is there any 
brilliant colouring. 

The trousers which are wide at the top and narrow at 
the ankle are generally of a different shade from the tunic. 


White socks are almost universally worn and shoes of thick 
felt complete the costume. Men's shoes are generally black, 
but women, especially those who have small feet, are sedu- 
lous that the best handy work and most showy colours 
should be conspicuous in their footgear. Often their shoes 
are decorated with little coloured tabs which hang down be- 
hind and even an aged, tottering old woman will have these 
tabs of crimson or some other noticeable colour to at- 
tract attention to the feet. She retains her pride in their 
small size to the end. 

The ordinary head-dress among the men is the small 
round black cap of silk or satin surmounted by a button. 
The button may be black or coloured, but one made of 
a coral bead is the most usual. These buttons on the larger 
mandarin hats show the rank and station of the wearer. 
The ordinary coolies and chair-bearers and all those who 
work in the fields wear conical shaped hats of plaited straw. 

A great many men and all the women go bare-headed in 
the streets of Yunnan Fou. They lose nothing of the in- 
geniousness of taste by this custom, for all their skill, all the 
varieties of style and fancy which might have been lavished 
on a hat is spent on their hairdressing and their hair 
ornaments. The hair ornaments in vogue are numerous 
and are mostly of jewellery or embroidered bands and flow- 
ers. Blue tinted jade is perhaps the most popular ornament 
and is in the form of a ring round which the chignon is ent- 
wined or in dagger-like pins. The embroidered bands are 
narrow and stretch from ear to ear across the forehead : 
they are black, but embroidered in coloured silks. 

Flowers are generally white and are only worn by girls or 
by young married women. If no hair ornament is used 
the splendour and symmetry of the coiffure makes up for the 
lack of jewellery. To insure the stability of the edifice, a 
quantity of thick oil is used, making their hair shine, but 
diffusing only too often a most unpleasant odour. Hairdres- 


sing employs a large proportion of a woman's time a espe- 
cially among the well-to-do, though the operation is not con- 
sidered necessary every day. Women also make up enor- 
mously and I never grew accustomed to the pink and white 
cheeks, reddened lips and darkened eyebrows of the Chi- 
nese. I had always imagined "make up" to be a product 
only of our own civilisation and was amazed to meet with it 
thus in the Far East. But it is an indulgence of Yunnan 
Fou quite as much as of Paris or London. Europeans try 
to hide the use of cosmetics by putting them on sparingly 
and hoping to improve the complexion without much 
changing it, but the Yunnanese adorn themselves with such 
a perfect pink and white skin that it cannot possibly be mis- 
taken for natural colouring. 

Over the tunic men sometimes wear a sort of sleeveless 
waistcoat generally of satin, and on very special and cere- 
monious occasions they, as well as the women, add a very 
widesleeved short coat to their costumes. It fastens with 
round metal buttons beneath the left arm. This is the garment 
of ceremony and in it, however old and shabby it may be, 
any individual may meet his superior without a breach of 

Among the poorest class of men and women the form 
of clothes changes a little. The long straight tunic is replaced 
by a shorter coat generally pulled to the waist by a sash 
of the same material. In the folds of this sash, the chair 
coolie keeps his money and tobacco. It is his pocket. The 
material is rough almost like sacking and generally dark 
blue. The peasant women who come into Yunnan Fou 
every day with their market produce frequently wear red 
trousers. Their coats are blue and they often wear two, 
one on the top of the other. As they carry their baskets 
on their backs strung under their arms, one might think that 
the exercise would make them warm enough without extra 
clothes. But, as in many other countries, the number of 


clothes worn increases with the descent in the social scale. 
These peasant women, owing to the shape and quantity of 
their clothes, seem to be double the size of those who wear 
the ordinary straight tunic which gives a tall and slim ap- 
pearance. As I said before, they wear big conical shaped hats 
of plaited straw which shield them from the sun and rain, 
only differing from the men's by a red crown which lifts 
the hat an inch or two above the head. 

Naturally amongthese poorer classes, feltshoes are seldom 
seen. They go bare-foot or wear sandals of plaited straw. 
Those peasant women who have small feet, naturally wear 
shoes and socks. I was told that Chinese women never 
bared their small feet nor on any account allowed them to 
be seen. Several times, however, while in Yunnan Fou, I 
surprised a woman washing her feet in the water of the rice 
field. Her tiny shoes were placed on the grass by her side 
while she dabbled in the water. 

Children's clothes are cut like their parents. In the sum- 
mer small mites often go naked or wear only one garment, 
either the little coat or the trousers. Their trousers are 
open at the back and the parts which we hide the most 
carefully from the public eye are those which are exposed 
among the Chinese. Men have these trousers too, but they 
always wear another closed pair in white cotton underneath. 

The clothes of beggars differ again from those of the rest 
of the community. They wear garments innumerable, in 
fact, they look mere bundles of old tattered rags hoisted 
on two bare feet. There is not a square inch of material 
which is whole, all is in narrow strips. The rags are only 
able to remain on the wearer by their number and their 
filthy condition which probably holds them together. 
Their untidy and dishevelled hair changes their appearance 
almost as much as their clothes. The men are unshaven 
and their uncut hair hangs over their shoulders. The 
women make no attempt at a plait or chignon. The 


disorder of this rough coarse hair is in entire contrast 
to the well-oiled shining coils of their compatriots. The 
neglect of hair and face is a typical characteristic of beg- 
gars, for even the poorest classes patronise the hair- 
dresser's shop. 

In China which is famed for its mutual help societies, 
even beggars unite themselves in an association. They 
form a strong syndicate and earn a livelihood without 
difficulty. Every family and every shop is obliged to give 
alms when demanded or they will find their door besieged 
and themselves harassed till their very trade and movements 
are seriously interfered with. For the sake of peace they 
are obliged to give the small donation which is expected of 
them. Under these circumstances it is not strange that beg- 
gars abound in the streets of Yunnan Fou, for the business 
is not fatiguing and is profitable. It is true that they are des- 
pised and hated and know that they would be hunted down 
and driven away without pity at the first sign of a break in 
their ranks. But at present only the dogs openly show their 
dislike. Growls and barks greet them at every door as they 
pass by and the old man with his long staff has sometimes 
much ado to prevent himself and his companions from 
being bitten. The instinct of dogs horror of the beggar is 
the same all over the world. 

Throughout Indo-China there is a ban against beggars. 
Each village and province is responsible for all its inhabitants 
and must provide for the needs of its poor and aged. There 
are no vagabonds. The Annamese code is rigorous in this 
respect and might serve as an excellent example to many 
other countries. It is true that since the French occupation, 
there are occasional beggars to be found on the outskirts 
of towns, but this is due to the leniency of the French 

In Yunnan Fou one sees a couple of beggars in every 
other street. 


IT was six o'clock when we were brought to a stand-still 
in Yunnan Fou station. The landslide on the line had 
made us an hour late. A crowd of Chinese dressed in 
various shades of blue were standing behind a railing await- 
ing the train's arrival. No doubt this daily event is still a 
novelty to many, though the service has now been running 
for three years. 

We were met by our hotel manager and though it was 
only a few minutes walk to the hotel, I was glad to take a 
chair for after the joltings twistings and turnings of a whole 
day in the train, I felt too unsteady on my legs to walk even 
that distance. The residents of Yunnan Fou have wicker- 
chairs well made and comfortable with polished metal- 
covered bamboo shafts like those one sees in Hong-Kong, but 
the chair hirers have not had the initiative to provide such 
luxuries for their clients and only the ordinary Chinese 
chair is available for visitors. Stepping over the rough 
shafts I sat down in the box-like contrivance. The outside 
was blue, the top was green and the inside lined with a 
bright coloured cretonne with little dirty silk curtains drawn 
across the front corners. The windows on either side were 
covered with wire netting, and, back and front, the coolies 
let down a bamboo lattice screen so that I could scarcely 
see anything and felt stifled. At my exclamations they 
withdrew the screens again. As they made preparations 



to lift the chair, the rough seat of cord cut into me, but I 
did not dare to move for the chair swerved over to the 
right then to the left before the coolies had it well balanced 
on their necks. They wore very loose indigo trousers coming 
down to just below the knee and indigo tunics. One had 
his turban twisted round his short cropped hair, the other 
wore his round his waist and on his head was a small 
dirty battered straw hat, such as a child of two might wear 
in England. Both wore sandals of plaited straw. They 
formed a great contrast to the chair coolies of residents 
who were in uniform and looked quite smart. 

We started down a broad road thick with coal dust, with 
ugly red-brick villas on either side standing in their own 
gardens. I was sorry to be confronted by such an ordinary 
spectacle but my disappointment only lasted a few minutes, 
for after two or three hundred yards we emerged into a 
narrow 7 cobbled street, crowded with squatting merchants, 
hurrying pedestrians and packhorses, &c. 

A few days later this first little piece of road leading to 
the station which had struck me as so banal seemed an 
ideal place for a short stroll. No smells, no dirt, no jostling, 
no noise, even the coal dust seemed cleanly. The breadth 
of the road would have allowed passage for a rick shaw or 
even a carriage if such things had existed in Yunnan Foil. 

In the Chinese street on the other hand nobody made the 
slightest attempt to get out of the way of the chairs, and my 
coolies simply pushed against those of light weight nearly 
upsetting them, but moved aside for packhorses or men 
carrying heavy loads where they themselves would be likely 
to receive the worst of the impact. 

The hotel was in a narrow cobbled side street where 
the traffic was less great, neverthles visitors whose rooms 
looked on to it complained that they were waked up in the 
early hours of the morning by the caravans of packhorses 
and the squeaking of the bullock carts as they passed under 


their windows. The hotel was built round a courtyard, in 
the middle of which flowers and bushes had been planted 
to make a little garden. Our rooms were on the further 
side and we looked out on to a parade ground instead of 
a street. We were pleased to see this open space and ap- 
preciated it still more when we found how very scarce open 
spaces were not only within the city but even outside it. 
Economy is the great watch-word of the Chinese and eco- 
nomy in space is certainly practised as ardently as in 
other things. 

The parade ground was not without disadvantages how- 
ever, for between 5 and 6 every morning soldiers arrived 
for drill. In Europe one hears only the voice of the officer 
as he shouts his commands but Chinese soldiers repeat 
the commands in chorus. They mark time with their voices 
as energetically as with their feet. I could hardly believe 
at first that the cries were human; they resembled rather 
the barking of dogs but when I saw the men's wide open 
mouths and how their heads and bodies were shaken as 
they emitted the sounds, it did not so much astonish me. 
When there were a great number of soldiers they divided 
up into groups, each group obeying its own officer. The 
sounds became then confused and less trying and I soon 
learnt to sleep through anything and every thing. It was 
interesting to watch them drill. They were trained on the 
Japanese method. Some of the new recruits had no idea 
of marching or of any disciplined movement whatever. It 
is true that they were probably wearing boots for the first 
time in their lives. The loose grey cotton trousers and grey 
tunics which is the undress uniform of the soldiers could 
not have interfered with their movements or felt too un- 
familiar after their native dress but probably leather foot 
wear embarrassed them a good deal. On their close-crop- 
ped heads they wore flat grey peak caps with a star in front 
showing the five colours of the Chinese Republican flag. 


The non-commissionned officers smacked their faces,kicked 
them, or occasionally hit them with a strap if they were too 
stupid or clumsy but without brutality. Such treatment 
did not seem to be resented, indeed the soldiers were as 
they looked more children than men. Their wide loose 
uniforms made them appear small and thickset after the 
lithe slim figure given by the native dress. Even their ex- 
pressions and colouring seemed changed. Their faces see- 
med redder, coarser, more dogged, under the grey peak cap. 
The morning after our arrival we started out to explore 
our surroundings. We naturally went towards the city 
meaning to follow the walls till we should come to one of 
the doors. After passing the parade-ground our path took 
us between small native houses against which wooden 
boards were leaning. Pasted on to them were scraps of 
cotton material from which the Chinese costumes are made. 
They were of all shades of dirty blue. Strips not more than 
an inch wide, tiny shapeless bits not larger than a penny,were 
all pasted together carefully and we wondered what this 
patchwork could be intended for. We were told that when 
the paste was dry, the bits came off in one whole piece and 
were then folded and cut up to make the soles of Chinese 
shoes. Any one seeing the heaps of filthy rags on a filthy 
road as we did would be lest inclined to buy the dainty 
wee shoes which attract the visitor in a Chinese town! 
They were rags from clothes which had been worn thread- 
bare without having ever been washed, and so rotten 
that stitches would no longer hold. If a needle and thread 
could have kept them together it is certain they would still 
have been used for clothes and the economical Chinaman 
would not have put them to this last use. Quantities of flies 
almost hid these piles of rags and the boards on which they 
were pasted. The women were covered with flies too and 
also the numberless children playing round in the mud; 
the faces of the babies who were too small to drive them 


away were black with them. Pigs, fowls and thin melan- 
choly looking dogs wandered in and out of the houses and 
round the children who laughed and played in happy 
ignorance that their homes were not of the best and most 
hygienic. One often wonders when in a Chinese town whe- 
ther hygiene is really as all important as we make out. These 
first homes into which we peeped on my arrival in Yun- 
nan Fou gave a shock to my faith in hygiene from which 
it has never recovered! 

The houses were small, dark (having only the door for 
light and air) and filthy. Food, cooking ustensils, wearing 
apparel, sleeping contrivances, and the implements with 
which they worked for a living, were all mixed up in the ut- 
most confusion. Children and animals wandered in and out 
among all this litter and their every movement was followed 
by a loud buzz, as the flies, disturbed, rose and settled 
again. Yet the children were fat and rosy-cheeked, they 
were seemingly healthy and happy. The mothers were 
strong and broad, and those that were sitting leaning against 
the door post nursing their babies looked pictures of con- 
tentment. They all evidently had several children; besides 
the one in their arms there were others being carried about 
on the backs of brothers and sisters. Instead of carrying 
them astride on their hips as the Annamese do, the Chinese 
tie them on to their backs with broad pieces of dirty cloth 
or linen. They cannot therefore see their precious charges. 
If the child carrying the baby is romping or the mother wor- 
king with it on her back its head is shaken from side to side 
till one thinks it will be shaken off its little neck. Worse 
still, the head has sometimes disappeared from view alto- 
gether and one fears that the little thing must be suffocated. 

By the time we had finished our contemplation of the 
scene before us, most of the children had left their games 
and were standing staring at us. Even one or two women 
stopped their occupation and gazed at us. A man came to 


the door smoking a pipe which was at least a yard long 
and said something to us. We did not know whether it 
was complimentary or the reverse and thought it time to 
continue our walk. 

A few minutes later a turning to the left showed us one 
of the city gates and we turned in that direction. It was 
a terraced many-roofed building, the red tiles forming a 
contrast to the grey tiles and thatched roofs within the city. 
The four gate ways of Yunnan Fou are among its highest 
buildings; formerly they were fortified and inhabited by 
soldiers. All are shut at night except one, so that later we 
sometimes had to make a long detour when returning to 
our hotel after dining with friends in the city. 

Before going through the gate we examined the massive 
city walls which are in splendid repair and very high. They 
enclose entirely the city which has a circumference of some 
four and a half miles. The walls on the inside are banked 
up with earth to a few feet below the top. 

Under the broad arch of the gate, numbers of coster- 
mongers were sitting against the wall in the midst of their 
wares. There was a tinker selling old rusty nails, bits of 
iron, empty bottles of which I noticed two were odol bottles!, 
cracked bowls, &c., there was a baker offering unwholesome 
looking cakes and biscuits to passers by, then came a display 
of children's toys made of bright coloured paper or card 
board little windmills, animals, boxes, dolls, &c. . . and 
finally we saw a woman roasting maize by fanning heat 
into a few cinders on a stove like a round stone flower pot. 
Besides intending buyers haggling with the costermonger, 
nearly all passers by paused for a few minutes in the shade 
of the arch before venturing into the sun again. They depo- 
sited whatever they happened to be carrying in the centre 
of the road, buckets of water, planks of wood, bundles of 
hay, sacks of grain, while they leisurely mopped their brow. 
Then too, these arches are the recognized places for posting 


up advertisements or proclamations and boys and men 
were continually pushing through to read the Chinese cha- 
racters on the long strips of bright red or bright yellow 
paper. It was not easy even for us pedestrians to make our 
way through all this conglomeration so that when 10 or 15 
loaded packhorses came blundering along or two or three 
bullock carts the disturbance may be imagined. There are 
cries, oaths and a general jostling and overturning of wares, 
then, when the caravan has passed, comparative peace 
reigns till the same thing happens again. 

Once through the arch and in the glare of the sun again 
we were really in the city of Yunnan Fou. 

Is it possible to give a description of that medley of 
narrow rough paved streets, with their tiny narrow shops 
so filled with wares that the merchant and his numerous 
family hardly finds standing room, streets gay with the blue 
tunics and trousers of many men and women pushing and 
rubbing against each as they hurry or tarry on their way? 

In spite of the narrowness of the streets, there are every 
where costermongers with portable bottles or baskets 
selling hot cakes, vegetables or fruit in fact any and every 
other commodity. Then every shop has two or three nar- 
row benches on which passers-by may sit to examine the 
wares on the counter for there is not room for them inside. 
I sat down on one of these uncomfortable, red-lacquered 
benches more than once, for the crowd, the smells, the 
noise and the movement were rather overwhelming and 
most tiring. Walking, it must be remembered is in itself 
no sinecure in a Chinese town. The rough cobbles hurt 
your feet and if by chance you wear high heels you may 
really endure tortures. It is true that the stones in the 
centre of the street are broad and flat flag stones in fact- 
hut it is impossible to keep your place on them. This man- 
ner of laying down roads flat stones in the middle and 
rough uncut ones on either side exist not only in the cities 


but in the country as well. The high roads across China 
are exactly the same and no broader. There are too many 
people in the street for the Chinese to be able to make way 
for you, even if they attempted it, and the continual jostling 
is very trying. Besides the ordinary pedestrians, there are 
still greater shocks and impacts to be avoided. Strings of men 
suddenly come hurtling along with enormous loads and take 
up almost all the available space. Many are carrying buckets 
of water swinging from a yoke over their shoulders, and 
one does not \vish to have the contents poured over ones feet 
or dress. These water-carriers move along every quickly 
and shout out at every step so that the way should be left 
clear for them or as clear as possible. Then there are the 
packhorses with loads of grain; these have bells and follow 
each other closely. Chairs take less room as the} 7 are narrow 
but they too move so quickly that one often has only just 
time to jump aside. None of these obstacles however hinder 
a free and easy gait so much as the stones. Your eyes must 
be continually on the ground which is most annoying 
when there is so much of interest to see all around. The 
dirt too diminishes the pleasure of such a walk: on either 
side of the street there is a gutter filled with thick black 
fluid which flows slowly or is quite stagnant. It is true 
that in every street there are bright blue boxes for rubbish 
like those one sees for waste paper in our own large towns, 
but the habit of throwing all and every thing into the gutter 
is still too strong for the hard working house-wife and 
busy merchant. 

The smell arising from these gutters may be imagined: 
it is far worse even than that arising from the restaurants 
or from the shops where dyeing, fur-cleaning or leather 
working are in progress. 

Another great nuisance of the street is the flies. In many 
of the shops they were as bad as in the rag street we had 
previously visited outside the town. All the dishes in the 


Chinese Restaurants were covered with them, in spite of 
the exertions of some children to keep them off with a 
bundle of feathers attached to a stick. It was the same in 
the butchers' shops and in the cereal shops where sacks of 
grain were exposed, and the dishes of dried fruit in the 
grocery shops were so black with them it was impossible 
to see what lay beneath. 

They did not trouble us much, having better pasture else 
where but the sight of them and the sound of their buzzing 
was sufficiently disagreable in itself. 

Occasionally at a street corner we came upon what was 
a really refreshing sight baskets upon baskets of peaches 
and apples. They were not small or anaemic looking fruits 
such as one might perhaps expect amidst such filthy surroun- 
ding but great big peaches with the bloom on them and of 
splendid colouring. The apples were small but never have 
I seen redder or more tempting-looking ones. Every one 
was eating peaches, the men walking along the streets, 
those serving in the shops, the children playing in the gut- 
ter; so cheap were they that every one night eat his fill. It 
was curious to see the ragged beggars eating peaches which 
a European hostess might have been proud to see on her 
table. Besides the peaches and apples there were big purple 
egg plants, baskets of scarlet chillies and tomatoes, delicately 
fresh white cabbages like enormous round balls, the outside 
leaves having been peeled off. 

The mass of colour at these fruits stalls was as great a 
pleasure to the eyes as was their scent to the nostrils. 

Suddenly I declared that I could walk no further and 
seated myself on a narrow wooden trestle outside an apo- 
thecary's shop. Then we discovered we had no idea of the 
way we had come nor of our way back. My husband left 
me to reconnoitre and returned in a few minutes not with 
definite information but with a chair and two bearers 
which was even more welcome. I sat down in it with 


a sigh of relief and it was hoisted on to their shoulders. 
We did not know the Chinese for "hotel" or "station" or 
anything else but we knew they would take us to some 
European centre either one of the consulates or a hotel 
or even a private house where we could enquire the way. 
I begged my husband to let them take the lead. After half 
an hour's rapid movement up one street and down another 
they suddenly stopped and put my chair down. What? had 
they been merely wandering about indefinitely? They had 
started off so confidently that we had felt assured that they 
had been taking us to a particular destination. Apparently 
we were wrong! We had now absolutely no idea what 
direction to take and we resolved to try our luck at one of 
the police boxes which are placed at certain street corners 
every hundred yards or so. At these corners are to be seen 
Chinese officials in uniform meting out justice and settling 
disputes among buyers and sellers. They are mostly sur- 
rounded by a large crowd who, white listening to the quarrel, 
entirely obstruct the road. The policeman never seems 
to notice this, at any rate he makes no effort to disperse 
them, in fact he his quite ready to hear all the opinions 
preferred by the onlookers. His judgement will probably 
be based on the opinion of the majority. It is somewhat 
absurd to see this youth of 18 or 20 appealed to by venerable 
fathers of families or excited women. Not only is his deci- 
sion accepted in the matter of 2 or 3 cents for the sale of 
goods, but apparently also in family dramas. 

The flat-faced, red-checked, expressionless personage to 
whom by signs we indicated we had lost our way, gazed at 
us tranquilly. He did not even attempt to answer us in his 
own tongue. He contented himself with some remark, 
probably a contemptuous one, to his nearest neighbour. 
His attitude was neither hostile nor insulting, neither even 
intimidated or curious simply one of complete indiffe- 
rence. Our situation and difficulties were entirely without 





interest to him. Seeing that a crowd was beginning to 
collect round us, we gave up hope of getting help from that 
quarter and pursued our way. A few minutes later to our 
great good fortune we met an Annamese whom we stopped 
and questioned. 

What a relief 'to hear again the French jargon of this 
Tonkinese tailor! 

He directed the coolies who at once with grunts of assent 
made off at such a quick trot that I was afraid that my next 
misfortune would he to lose my husband! However we 
arrived at the hotel safely and together, and were thankful to 
sit down to lunch in a large, quiet, clean dining room. What 
a contrast it presented to all we had seen that morning! 


THE most noted temple within the walls of Yunnan Fou is the 
temple of Confucius and this we visited a day or two after 
our arrival. At the time we were unacquainted with the geo- 
graphy of the town and were loth to go in chairs as the streets 
were of such absorbing interest. The chief hotel boy an 
Annamese , solved our difficulty by offering us his wife 
Ti Ba, as guide. 

Ti-Ba had already been in the country several years and 
was familiar not only with the Annamese quarter but with 
every corner of the town. 

The Annamese who have settled in Yunnan Fou have 
shown common sense and discrimination in the choice ot 
their place of residence; for the greater part they have congre- 
gated in South street where is the only European-made road, 
a broad one with large, high shops. It is outside the city walls 
and in a busy throughfare. After a month or two in Yunnan 
Fou I was increasingly pleased to go down this street and 
look again on the brown tunics,black trousers and turbans of 
the Tonkinese women. How often in Tonking I had deplored 
the lack of colour in costume and landscape, brown earth, 
brown huts, brown costumes, brown fields, brown every- 
thing, yet here in the midst of the bright colours and con- 
trasts of the Chinese town, in spells of home-sickness it was 
a relief to look on the familiar dull drab costumes which 
reminded me of Haiphong. One does not see any very poor 



among the Tonkinese: they all seemed to be of the upper 
mercantile class mostly tailors, shoe-makers &c., and the 
men were all in European khaki dress with leather boots. 
Just as the Chinese seem to be superior to the general run of 
the native population in Haiphong so the Tonkinese here 
seemed superior to the Chinese. 

Ti-Ba pointed us out the homes of her friends as we went 
by and was saluted by all her acquaintances. She spoke 
French and Chinese as well as her native Annamese tongue 
and she turned out a most capable guide. Her explanations 
to some of our puzzled enquiries were, if true, curious and 
amusing. We asked her why the cats had collars and were 
chained up like dogs. There was one in every shop and 
generally miauling piteously. Though fat and well kept they 
were very ordinary animals of no intrinsic value. The poor 
creatures though habitually attached in that manner did 
not appear to have become accustomed to their captivity. 
How the owners could endure the unceasing miauling 
which almost drowned conversation I do not know. We 
Europeans should find no 'noise more nerve-racking in a 
crowded room of small dimensions but the Chinese seem 
perfectly unconcerned. 

The silent morose-looking dogs which infested the town 
were free on the contrary; in our opinion they should 
have been chained up rather than the cats. Ti Ba's expla- 
nation was that cats acted as charms to the merchant who 
possessed them; good cats bringing their owner good and 
plentiful custom. The older a cat, the more efficient was it in 
bringing good luck to the merchant. To test the truth of 
her words we told her we wanted to buy a certain cat and 
made her ask the price. For a time the owner would name 
no price, then valued his talisman at 60 dollars. After 
much discussion we managed to bring the sum down to 
40 but no lower. We abandoned our attempt at barter, 
convinced that there w r as some truth in Ti-Ba's expla- 


nation for a Chinaman will sell almost anything to make 
a bargain. 

After turning up one street and down another all of which 
looked to us absolutely alike with no particular landmarks, 
we came to the Temple of Confucius. There was an open 
space in front of the doorway where a number of packhorses 
were being loaded and unloaded. We walked up the steps 
and through the open doors and found ourselves in the first 
courtyard. Every pagoda and large private house boasts of 
several courtyards. This emphasizes the contrast to the 
streets, where every inch of space is utilized. The pagodas 
do not resemble our churches and cathedrals ; instead of one 
big building there are several with divinities in each. We 
just glanced into the little rooms on either side of the 
courtyard and nothing particular arousing our interest 
we made our way to the central building. It was dark and 
cool inside but we were disappointed to find it nearly empty. 
There was one single Buddha behind a piece of wire netting 
in a corner, but the whole place had evidently been neglected 
for a long time. Our Chinese guide with Ti-Ba for inter- 
preter informed us that during the Bevolution in 1911 the 
temple had been pillaged and all the Buddhas beheaded. 
The ancient cult was apparently unpractised and all that 
remained of former glories were one or two bronze incense 
burners which had evidently resisted destruction and been 
too heavy to carry away. The carved columns and the cei- 
ling with its highly coloured and ornamented beams and 
rapture were all that had been left intact of the actual in- 
teral structure. We asked if we might mount the stair-case 
which we noticed in one corner. We wished at least to take 
the opportunity of seeing the view, for this temple was one 
of the highest buildings in the town. The Chinaman called 
out orders and soon a little girl appeared with a big key. She 
preceded us up the stairway and when we came to a trap 
door tried to undo the padlock. Her efforts were unavailing 


and she was obliged to call her mother or one of her many 
female relations. The mother hobbled up the stairs with 
difficulty for her feet, or rather the stumps where her feet 
should have been, prevented any ease of movement. In 
Yunnan Fou nearly all women have small feet, not only 
the rich who afford the luxury of servants and who lead 
an absolutely lazy life, but even the poorer classes and the 
peasants. It astonished us that women engaged in manual 
labour should have crippled themselves thus. 

The mother also failed to unlock the door and was follo- 
wed by another woman and by the time the door had 
been pushed back and we had passed through we had 
seen all the members of the family. From the verandah 
where we now found ourselves we clambered up another 
staircase to he top-most story. The little square room 
with its one gilded Buddha had as neglected an appear- 
ance as the rooms below. Not even the remains of flow- 
ers or tapers offered to the deity were to be seen. The 
verandah surrounding the room gave us a splendid view of 
the town, the lake, the canal and hills beyond. Ti-Ba 
pointed out to us different landmarks but except for the 
Chinese Governor's palace which was at the top of an incline 
it was difficult to distinguish one building from another. 
The maze of uniform gray roofs looked all the same size 
and all the same height nor could one see many of the 
streets, so narrow were they. We learnt a little of the geo- 
graphy of the town by means of the principal doors which 
are big buildings, those to the North, South, East, and West, 
being easily distinguishable by their many reddish gray- 
tiled roofs. 

We noticed just below us a garden with splendid high 
trees and received permission to visit it. We were told that 
it adjoined the former residence of the Governor but had 
been abandoned at the time of the Bevolution. Our little girl 
guide led us through the big double doors and we found 


ourselves in a once well kept but still fascinating garden 
surrounded by high walls. Except for one or two flower- 
ing shrubs there were no flowers of any sort but anything 
that grows seeme like a miracle inside a Chinese town and 
even the dark masses of weeds and stinging nettles attracted 
us. It was difficult to distinguish between the path and the 
beds for though the former were paved, high weeds had 
sprung up every where between the flags. In the middle 
of the garden was a small pond with a round Chinese 
bridge stretching across it. The pond was dry and the bridge 
half destroyed but when all was in order it must have been 
a beautiful spot resembling the best of the Japanese gardens. 
The tall and ancient trees were now all that was left of 
former glories. There was nothing to be seen in the resi- 
dence itself, it was damp dark and neglected; this Chinese 
Trianon which had seen so many fetes and gaieties during 
the rule of past vice-roys was now desolate. 

In contrast to this pagoda with its few Buddhas was the 
temple of the five hundred genii which we visited the next 
day outside the town. The number was correct, there were 
at least five hundred plaster figures all crowded into two 
small rooms. The temple itself was large, built round an 
open square but all the Buddhas had been crowded together 
in rows round the walls of two adjoining rooms. Those 
of the lower rank were sitting on or leaning against land- 
creatures, those above on fishes or sea monsters. The wall 
behind them represented the waves of the sea. One did 
not notice at once the upper row as they were placed on a 
broad sort of shelf and it was only by placing onself against 
the opposite wall that one got a full view. 

All the types and physical characteristics of the Chinese 
to be seen in the street were reproduced here, some of them 
really life-like, others very exaggerated for instance eye- 
brows falling below the waist, arms stretching up to the sky. 
Nearly all had white faces and long drooping moustaches 


but the costume colours were never the same nor two atti- 
tudes alike. Most figures probably represented certain ideas 
such as fecundity, honoured old age, learning, but we could 
not guess the meaning of many peculiar positions or under- 
stand all the emblems held by them on their knees. 

The sudden apparition of this mass of life-size figures 
as one Centered the temple was most striking. There was 
nothing artistic or picturesque about the straight rows but 
they certainly made an impression on one's mind not to 
be quickly effaced. 

The fish pagoda attracted me more than any other temple 
inside the town. As far as one could judge it could also boast 
of a great popularity among the Chinese. This was not 
surprising when we were told that the divinities here were 
evoked in cases of sterility. The fish pagoda is thus named 
because it is built on a pond or rather a small lake which 
teems with carp and gold fish. Visitors and pilgrims after 
their devotions before the altar never fail to go and sit or 
kneel on the semi-circular stone seat overlooking the water 
and gaze down over the balustrade at the myriads of fish. 
Here one finds the inevitable old woman with her stall 
and for a cent you can buy a big round biscuit and for a 
sapek a handful of tiny dried flowers. The fish prefer 
these flowers if they are flowers to anything else and 
when a handful is thrown to them (being very light they 
spread out over a large surface) all we could see was a 
mass of wide, black, open mouths. The carp is never eaten 
by the Chinese; it is a bold and very strong fish, capable 
of swimming upstream and probably for this reason has 
become symbolic of the male child. As in Japan and 
Annam fish play a great part in children's fetes and brightly 
coloured paper fishes which can be illuminated inside at 
night are their principle toy and are carried triumphantly 
about on a stick by all youngsters on certain days in the 
year. This pond in certain seasons is covered with lotus 


flowers which makes it more picturesque than ever. When 
we were there they were not in bloom but the big leaves 
covered a large portion of the water. 

The courtyard of this pagoda was pretty and well kept; 
small bushes, some flowering, some cut into the shapes of 
dragons, cocks, &c., were planted here and there, and the 
whole of one wall was covered with trailing nasturtiums. The 
small well-proportioned pagoda in the centre with its green- 
tiled roof coming down low and turning up again at the 
corners was very picturesque. I like this architectural cha- 
racteristic of the Chinese temple roofs. On the slanting 
cretes there were small animals in porcelain or earthen 
ware dogs, dragons, elephants, &c. all attached by a chain 
to the sort of weather-cock in the centre. 

I went inside. I expected to see women at their devotions 
but during the few minutes that 1 stood there, only two 
Chinamen followed each other in, and after lighting tapers 
and pushing them into the sand of the incense burner on 
the altar they prostrated themselves before it. The deity 
was very much like the plaster Virgin with a child in her 
arms one sees in the poorer Roman Catholic churches in 
France. Neither of the two men belonged to the lower 
classes, both were well dressed with little satin jackets over 
their long tunics. I could not help wondering as I watched 
them what circumstances had brought them there. Had 
their first born died, had they been married some time and 
begun to despair of having children, or was it that only 
daughters had been born and they were still awaiting sons? 
For it is only sons who can carry on the ancestral cult. 
What tragedies might not be taking place in the homes of 
these men. A childless woman is always to be pitied but in 
China more than in any other country. The young Chinese 
girl as soon as she is married goes to her husband's home, 
and there she becomes the servant and drudge of her mo- 
ther-in-law and often passes many unhappy years. Where 


there are several daughters-in-law, continual squabbles arise 
over questions of interest as well as over domestic affairs 
and one is often singled out to bear the brunt of all quarrels 
and disputes. If one of the women is childless it will natu- 
rally be she, and the worst treatment as well as the most 
bitter reproaches will be her lot. What good is she if she has 
no children? Pity is showered on her husband till he 
himself, even though he has at first loved his young wife, 
begins to take the general view and tires of his efforts to 
protect her. 

Many cases are known to the missionaries where young 
wives have commited suicide so tortured have they been 
by the other women in their husband's home. Her parents 
and family seem unable to alter such a state of affairs and 
often mothers, having been through such a period them- 
selves, regard it as the inevitable lot for their daughter also, 
and only offer whispered sympathy making no attempt to 
interfere. If the girl dies or commits suicide, both families 
hush up the scandal, the parents only demanding a rich 
funeral as compensation for their daughter's life. 

Another curious temple which we visited quite close to 
the hotel was the Pagoda of the Golden Ox. It was quite 
a small temple in a narrow side-street and the ox which 
was life-size nearly filled all the available space. Needless to 
say it was not of gold but of bronze and not much more 
like an ox than like any other four-footed animal. 

There were several rich Chinese making the tour of the 
temple at the same time as ourselves and they seemed very 
interested looking at it from all sides and patting it all over. 

The side rooms round the temple had all been put to 
practical uses. In one, a class for tiny boys was being held; 
in another men were spinning and through the air thick 
with fluff I saw Buddhas in a corner pushed there out of the 
way. I wanted to walk across and look at them but the dust 
and fluff choked me and I backed into the open air again. 


Another room was a dwelling in which a large family re- 

A temple of a totally different type from those I have 
described was shown to me by a lady missionary near 
the North Gate. It was built in a copse of pine trees at the 
bottom of the slope along which the north wall runs. It 
was a pretty spot and well chosen to commemorate the 
officers and soldiers killed during the Revolution. Formerly 
it contained tablets to soldiers who had fallen during the 
Franco-Chinese war but they have recently been removed 
to make place for those of these later heroes. The temple 
is vast and most sobre in appearance. No Buddhas or 
deities of any sort were to be seen in the principal buil- 
ding. The great bronze incense-burner in front of the 
altar was the only ornament besides the coloured tablets 
nailed to the wall. The courtyards were well paved and 
the rooms on either side looked exceptionally clean, tidy 
and well kept. There were however no trees or flowers to 
enliven their almost too severe and symetrical appearance. 

Fortunately one could see the green branches of the pine- 
trees above the walls and could even enjoy their scent, a 
welcome relief within the walls of a Chinese city. 

On leaving the temple we climbed a stony path leading 
to the North Gate. This gate built on the crest of one of 
the many lime-stone ridges in the province boasts one of 
the best views in or near the town. 

We stood for a minute admiring the landscape on that 
clear evening, the green sea of paddy fields at our feet 
broken only by the straight, gray, stone-paved Chinese roads 
and the winding lines of trees which border the canals. 
Tiny white specks on the distant hills bordering the plain 
on every side we knew to be the white-washed walls of 
pagodas. We went through the gate and followed a little 
path to the right which runs along outside the wall. The 
slope descending into the paddy fields is covered with the 


green mounds of ancient graveyards interspersed here and 
there hy a number of fantastically shaped lime-stone blocks 
springing as it were out of the ground. We came almost im- 
mediately upon the graves of the soldiers the tablets to Whan 
we had seen in the temple below. Instead of mounds, stone 
slabs had been placed flat on the ground with the inscription 
in black Chinese characters running down the middle. This 
spot on the crest of the ridge close to the wall of the town 
had evidently been chosen as a place of honour. 

Most temples in Yunnan Fou appear to be frequented 
by the poorest classes only, the richer Chinese visiting them 
rather with the object of sight seeing than of worship. But 
this temple was patronized by all classes even by the ad- 
ministrative authorities. 

It was the only one which I visited in or round Yunnan 
Fou where conviction and sincerity were apparent in the 
those who came there. As a rule both the men and women 
we saw sitting on the pagoda steps or eating in one of the 
side rooms were there merely for the pleasure of the ex- 
cursion. Others, in trouble through poverty, domestic 
affairs or illness, after having tried all other remedies had 
come to burn incense before the altar and offer a sacrifice 
of bananas, eggs or a portion of whatever they possessed 
in the hope of relief. The Chinese have no real faith in 
the deities of their temples nor in the efficacy of genu- 
flexions nor of burning prayers (slips of coloured paper in- 
scribed with Chinese characters) but they feel that at any 
rate these things can do no harm and wish to be on the safe 
side. They desire to appease spirits and genii in case they 
chance to exist and might wreak vengeance upon them. 
But they are at bottom incredulous and only fulfil such 
rites through long custom just as we might avoid crossing 
our knives, walking under a ladder or sitting down thirteen 
to a meal. 

It was a pleasure to observe that at least one temple 


was visited for other motives than self-gain and self-protec- 
tion. Pilgrims coming from far and near had no thought 
but that of honouring their dead when they approached 
the edifice in the pine trees under the North Gate. And 
when they afterwards climbed the hill and made their way 
to the graves of their heroes they seemed full of reverence 
and respect. The silent groups standing round these 
stone slabs reminded me of scenes I had so often witnessed 
in Japan where the deeds and deaths of national patriots 
are as faithfully commemorated as those of their own an- 



A GREAT many visitors to Yunnan Fou spend most of their 
time in the shops in quest of rare trinkets, old porcelains, fine 
ivories, &c. &c. Not being a connoisseur in such things my- 
self, these shopping expeditions did not interest me particul- 
arly unless I had the opportunity to watch others bargaining 
over their "finds". The first time I accompanied my hus- 
band and one of his friends they were in search of opium 
pipes. Since opium smoking was forbidden in China, these 
pipes are not exposed to the view of passers-by. They are 
still to be found in all shops selling curios but the merchant 
keeps them wrapped up in a ragged cloth in some corner 
and will only show them to you at your express desire. 
With many precautions he unknots his dirty cloth and 
glances furtively around while you look at them. He hand- 
les them tenderly and mentions their cost in a whisper. 
It was hard to guess if this attitude was genuine or simply 
assumed as an excuse to run up the price. One merchant 
even refused to show us his pipes in the shop and led us 
up some narrow dirty stairs into his bedroom. It was so 
tiny we could not stand up straight, and there were no 
chairs so we were not very comfortable. 

The buyers in their enthousiasm were not aware of our 
discomfort as they discussed the genuineness of the silver 
mounting on this pipe, the worth of the jewels ornamen- 
ting that one, the date of a third. When they had finally 



settled on their proposed purchases there came the still 
longer process of bargaining, the pretence of leaving the 
shop, the frequent return, the repetition of the whole trans- 
action from beginning to end. The experienced buyer 
is careful not to let the merchant know the exact object 
he wishes to possess till he has bargained over some other 
one, for if the salesman guesses your fixed determination 
he will stick to his original price. Bargaining with a China- 
man is a most complicated business but would be thoroughly 
amusing w r ere it not so long and if the spectator could be 
comfortably seated and in the fresh air during the procee- 

I had time while listening to questions and answers to 
examine every corner of that little upstairs bedroom but 
there was such a conglomeration of objects I do not re- 
member half I saw. The principal piece of furniture was 
the plank bed; it had no mattress only one or two dirty 
ragged blankets and it was covered in by a dirty dark blue 
mosquito curtain. Whether the curtain was really to guard 
against mosquitoes I do not know. Rather I should imagine 
it was a protection from the air. The Chinese evidently 
do not like fresh air (one need only glance at their window- 
less houses to know that) and certainly that thick untrans- 
parent mosquito curtain would guard the sleeper well 
in that direction. I say sleeper but if all the children and 
youths I had seen huddled in the little shop down stairs 
belonged to this man's family there were probably many 
sleepers for that small bed. Perhaps other beds were put 
up at night and a few slept on the floor but space was ex- 
tremely limited even for that arrangement. Of course the 
shop below must have made a second bedroom as soon as 
it was shut to customers. 

I continued my inspection. Near the bed was a small table 
heaped with curios, dirty brass ornaments, glass beads, jade 
or imitation jade trinkets, &c. all covered with dust and 


rust. Underneath were rolled up kakemonos. I unrolled 
one or two making not only my hands dirty but also my 
sleeves and dress with the dust which spluttered out. Here 
were depicted the usual musty-coloured flowers and leaves 
all mixed up without any artistic arrangement; here 
again a queer looking bird on a single branch, Japanese style, 
but without the pleasing Japanese colouring. Any amount 
of Buddhas too. Buddha alone under a tree with some small 
nondescript animal in the back ground, Buddha with his 
servants or friends who are always shorter and thinner than 
himself, Buddha riding, &c. In all he w r as represented with 
a big belly and white beard. Then there were again pictures 
containing a great many figures in symmetrical order. The 
one I bought showed 20 figures all like Buddha, with beards 
and mostly sitting in the same posture on identical Chinese 
chairs. They are in three rows; behind the rear rank are 
clouds behind the second is a Chinese screen, and between 
that and the third are clouds again. The whole is painted 
in black and white except for a few touches of red. There 
is a round red sun in the right hand top corner. One old man 
has the same bright red hair and beard as the sun and a few 
figures have small touches of red on their costumes. It is 
really a very ugly picture. The evening before my husband 
had to leave Yunnan Fou I found him in my bedroom on a 
chair which he had placed on my writing-table. He was 
hanging up three kakemonos he had bought me in order to 
hide from view some wonderful red and white complexioned 
damsels with auburn hair, advertisements sent to the 
hotel by the Greek owner of the principal shop in Yunnan 
Fou. My husband's choice had been happier than my 
own and before long I became quite fond of these speci- 
mens of Chinese art. One represented two Chinese mai- 
dens in long flowing robes, their hair drawn tightly away 
from their foreheads and twisted into rolls on the tops of 
their heads except for two dark strands which hung down 


over either shoulder. Neither dress nor coiffure were those 
adopted by the Chinese of today, possibly it was a former 
mode. One girl carried flowers and an instrument like a 
hoe the other a vase. Both wore earings, had taper-like 
fingers and enormously long nails. The delicate colouring 
was attractive too, it was entirely in pink, pale blue and 
gray without a touch of pure black or white. Since then I 
have searched for other types of female beauty but have not 
succeeded in finding any. This subject which chiefly inspi- 
res our artists, seems without effect on the Chinese. Another 
picture, chosen by my husband for its colouring, was of an 
old man with head forced down into his shoulders painted 
entirely in the same shade of red. The third, at first sight, loo- 
ked very much like the biblical picture of the three wise men 
bringing presents to the Infant Jesus who is in the arms of 
his mother with Joseph standing behind. On further exami- 
nation one finds that it is a man and not a woman holding 
the baby, but it is curiously interesting to find the five figures 
are in adoration before the Child. The back ground of this 
picture is black and has neither border nor the strip of co- 
loured silk which one sees so often pasted on the paper 
above the painting. The colours, very pure greens and reds 
stand out well against this dark blackground. 

I did not find anything so attractive as these in the 
shop of the China-man in question though before the 
opium pipes had been paid for I had unrolled some 30 
or 40 scrolls. I next looked at some narrow embroidered 
silk bands, pieces taken from the wide sleeves of rich 
Chinese women's costumes but though some of them were 
beautifully worked I could not screw up my courage to buy 
anything so dirty. The silks were not washable and there 
is no Pullar in Yunnan or Tonking. We were also shown 
embroidered squares taken from the back and front of the 
mandarins' costumes. They were in pairs but unfortunately 
one was always cut in half. I bought one pair in order to 



make a little hand bag. I simply bound round the two 
squares with gold cord and kept them flat with two little 
bamboo sticks; it made a very useful bag to wear with even- 
ing dress. These squares are generally so richly embroidered 
in gold thread as to hide the foundation of silk or satin 
and therefore, if dirty, as they all certainly are, the stains are 
at least not visible. I could not have bought anything to be 
worn as personal apparel after seeing our merchant hunt 
the things out from a heap of clothing poked under the bed. 

My husband was now anxious to look at the ordinary 
metal pipes which all Chinese men and women smoke from 
time to time during the day. These were fortunately down- 
stairs and avoiding as best we could the dried herbs and 
other objects hanging from the beams of the ceiling, we let 
ourselves one by one through the trap door and down the 
ladder into the shop below. 

I seated myself outside on one of the trestles and leaned 
over the one-foot-wide counter w r here the pipes had been 
placed. They were practically all the same shape and size 
but of every kind of metal and design. There were silver 
gilt, silver copper, nielle, blue enamel, &c. some dinted and 
battered in, others almost new, all of different times and 
epochs. These pipes hold a large thimbleful of water but 
only a small pinch of tobacco. I had already smoked one 
while at the Mongzeu Consulate but had failed to under- 
stand the satisfaction derived from two whiffs of tobacco. 
Not caring for smoking in any case the two whiffs were 
quite enough for me but for those who are fond of it, it must 
be tantalizing to find your pipe finished almost before it is 
begun. To continue you must again fill the tiny bowl re- 
served for tobacco, again strike a match and often replenish 
the little receptacle with water. Possibly it is the sound of 
the gurgling water as they inhale that the smokers enjoy. 
It may be amusing for them but it had an irritating effect 
on my nerves. 


Before a final choice was made even the pipes in use by 
the merchant and his family had been offered for sale. 
There are generally two or three hanging on nails at the 
entrance of a house or shop which are smoked promis- 
cuously by each and sundry. I asked for a pipe which was 
new and had never been used but that they did not possess. 
In Yunnan Fou one can buy costumes, porcelains, ivories, 
pictures in all states and conditions but if one asks for a 
specimen of anything which comes direct from the maker 
and which has been in no one's possession before, there is 
no response. 

Pipes at length purchased, we continued our way down 
the narrow paved street. Some streets are more picturesque 
and brightly coloured than others. The round wooden pillars 
which support the over-hanging roof are often painted black 
with the name of the merchant in gold characters. If the posts 
are painted red the characters are in black. There are also 
narrow wooden black planks nailed over every shop, or red 
papers pasted to the door the characters on them probably 
advertizing some merchandise to be found inside. The 
roofs come down low and turn up at the corners. Where 
they turn up the beams underneath are visible and these 
are painted with complicated designs in green, blue, red and 
white. Looking down a straight narrow street all these 
brilliantly coloured corners are visible at the same time 
and with the red and gold of the pillars and blue costumes 
of the passers-by help to present a gay picture. Never- 
theless one must not compare the aspect of these streets 
with those in Japan. What a contrast! It is the difference 
between cleanliness and squalor. The daintiness, the neat- 
ness of Japanese shops and houses and people whether 
rich or poor is undreamt of here. The delight one feels in 
those little Japanese wooden buildings where everything is 
or looks new, is an unknown experience in China. One may 
be extremely interested in a Chinese street and shops but 


they cannot exercise the charm and fascination of those in 
Japan. And probably if a great fire could suddenly devastate 
a Chinese town as it can and does in Japan, it would again 
be built within fortress walls, the houses would be re-con- 
structed on the same lines as before and the dirt, squalor, 
smells and noise would be renewed immediately. Even the 
best shops in Yunnan Fou, those containing curios worth 
over 1000 dollars are not much cleaner and neater than 
others. It is the same small ten foot square shop with a 
narrow counter in front and two or three tables between 
which, in spite of being very narrow, one has much ado 
to squeeze in order to examine the different curios. Some- 
times there is another small shop at the back and the 
merchant will take you across a tiny open courtyard into 
a similar room crowded w r ith porcelains, brasses, vases, 
jade ornaments, &c. Those of greatest value are always 
in glass cases. Although one sees women in these shops 
they never serve customers nor do they seem to know 
any thing about the wares or value of the curios. They 
are different from the Annamese women who have good 
business heads and are capable of striking a much better 
bargain than their men folk. Chinamen greatly appreciate 
this capacity and those living in Indochina almost inva- 
riably marry Annamese women. 

In the small courtyard there was always a Chinese wo- 
man washing, nursing a baby or sewing but she evidently 
took little interest in the sale of goods. By her side a cat 
chained up like the one in the shop was generally miauling. 
The noise never seemed to disturb her, though it nearly 
drove me mad during the short time we were in the shop. 
Chinese women are no more sensitive to noise and smell 
than the men. The courtyard of these better shops was also 
quite evidently the dressing room. In one corner a small 
square enamelled basin was nailed to the wall with a small 
mud-coloured towel hanging beside it. We compared this 


idea of cleanliness with that existing in Japan where every 
household poor or rich possesses a large wooden bath in 
which master and servant may indulge in a hot bath every 
day of their lives. 

The shops which interested me most in Yunnan Fou 
were those selling Chinese robes. I spent hours trying on 
silk and satin coats which might be turned to account for 
ordinary wear. The women's coats with their wide sleeves 
were too short to be of use for any thing but opera cloaks 
and I turned my attention chiefly to the men's long nar- 
row tunics. For the fashion of that time they wanted very 
little alteration and I examined the entire stock of many a 
little shop. 

The Chinese shopman in spite of his great commercial 
reputation seems always loth to show you his goods. 
When you want to buy a tunic he will pull out one from 
a shelf behind him, spread it out before you and then lean 
back idly watching you while you examine it. He really 
seems to think we Europeans capable of buying just the 
one he shows us without seeing others! We were often so 
irritated at having to ask for, almost demand each one 
singly, that we felt tempted to abruptly leave the shop. How 
different from the European shopman who immediately 
displays not only his whole stock of the article you demand 
but often a great many other things besides; he tempts you 
to buy not only by his manner of showing off his goods 
and his own admiration of them, but by means of contrast. 

The Chinaman will never show you all at the same time. 
As soon as you have tried on a coat and discarded it, he 
will carefully fold it up again and put it away. Comparison 
is therefore impossible. Nearly all these coats had already 
been worn and many of them were dirty or stained. It 
was extremely difficult to find coats which were entirely 
new. It is only after a customer has made a purchase and 
paid for it that the Chinaman begins to take some interest 


in him. He then shows articles newer and better but when 
you wish to make a fresh selection he refuses outright. 

My only other purchase in Yunnan Foil besides coats 
and furs was an umbrella. 

It suddenly occured to me that if I possessed one of those 
big red oil-skin umbrellas I should be able to keep it. Shortly 
before leaving England an aunt had asked me what I should 
like for a present and I had answered "an umbrella which 
could not be lost". She had sent me three by return of 
post, but two had disappeared before I even arrived in the 
East. The Chinese manufacture would perhaps bring me 
better luck. I hoped that on my return to Haiphong, 
people who had once seen it would never forget it and 
would send it back when I left it in their houses. Natives 
would hardly dare to steal so unique an article nor would 
my friends care to borrow it. If really I had found an um- 
brella which could be neither lost, borrowed nor stolen I 
was making an invaluable investment and I ventured into 
an umbrella shop. There were only two sorts, the blue oil- 
skin and the red oil-skin. They were all of the same shape, 
size and weight. I chose a red one. On a dismal rainy day 
it would mean at least one bright spot in the gray sur- 
roundings and atmosphere. 

In Japan one is almost consoled for a shower of rain by 
the pretty sight of all the yellow umbrellas suddenly shooting 
up. The parasols of Japan are of all the colours of the rain- 
bow and even the ordinary yellow umbrella with the black 
swerves of Japanese characters on one side is a pleasure to 
look at. I remember seeing a number of small Japanese 
children leaving a primary school. The sweep of yellow 
which suddenly hid the road as the umbrellas were held 
daintily aloft seemed to lighten the atmosphere. What a 
contrast to the effect produced in England when a crowd 
is caught in the rain. The Chinese umbrella is not as daintj r 
as the Japanese but it is certainly preferable to the black 


cotton European article and J was very pleased with my 

There are many shops and booths for the sale of green 
earthen-ware in Yunnan Fou ; bowls, large and small pots, 
vases, &c. From a distance they look rather attractive but 
in one's hands the defects are immediately visible for the 
surface is rough and uneven. They are not made in the 
town but come from a neighbouring village and one often 
meets packhorses laden with them along the road leading 
from the North Gate. 

Yunnan Fou is a centre for distributing salt and tea, and 
every day one sees caravans of packhorses leaving the town 
with blocks of rock-salt roped on to their backs. The salt 
is formed into great round even blocks about a yard across 
and a foot high but it is never seen like that. The block is 
cut into 4 quarters and in that shape it is carried or dis- 
played in the shop with black and red characters painted 
on it. For a long time I puzzled my head over what this 
white substance could be that every where caught my eye. 

The coiffeur shops interested us vastly. They were always 
full, in fact two or three Chinese were usually sitting on 
a bench just outside awaiting their turn. The profession of 
hair-dressing and shaving was entirely revolutionized when 
two years ago the Chinese all had their pig tails cut off. 
Possibly the new generation of hair-dressers has hardly had 
time to be trained. 

Chinaman, instead of leaning back in a comfortable arm 
chair to undergo the operation of shaving, bends forward; 
he sits on a low bench, his feet on a foot-stool and his head 
supported by a sort of towel-horse arrangement on which 
he leans his forehead. As his arms and shoulders are 
completely hidden by a cloth which is wound round him 
and only the head and neck thus balanced is to be seen, he 
looks as if he might be awaiting the executioner. It is evi- 
dently a most trying position, for when the shampooing and 


shaving or hair-cutting is finished, the hair-dresser mas- 
sages his customers back, arms, and neck, probably to 
bring back the circulation. Children hate having their 
heads shaved and must generally be held still by force; they 
scream with all their might the whole time. 

Women were never to be seen in these shops. Their 
hair-dressing is probably done in private by their sisters 
or mothers. I often wished I could see the process. 

The shampoo and shave was usually followed by a cleans- 
ing of the ears. It is wonderful to see the number of dif- 
ferent instruments the Chinese possess for this performance. 
They remind one of a dentist's outfit. The Chinese evi- 
dently does not object to his ears being touched and pulled 
about for he sits without moving a muscle during the hour 
or so that the operation takes. The coiffeur perches him- 
self on the narrow bench by his side and balances himself 
in a squatting position. It makes a curious picture. 

The restaurants and tea-houses were also interesting. 
The men sitting smoking and sipping at their little bowls 
of tea or alcohol looked as if they intended remaining there 
till doomsday. Even those at the same table seldom spoke 
to each other. All seemed to be in a state of quiet content. 
Many Chinese were perched on their narrow benches like 
monkeys on a branch, others had their legs stretched along 
it and leant their backs against the wall but most were 
sitting with elbows resting on the table bending over their 
beverage. In one corner of the tea room there was always 
a huge kettle kept continually on the boil by a few live 
cinders. Never have I seen such kettles as in Yunnan Fou. 
One person alone could certainly not lift them, even to tilt 
them forward to fill smaller receptacles required a whole 
man's strength. The small kettles which were filled from 
the large one on the fire were taken from table to table to 
make fresh tea and fill up the bowls. 

The story-teller is the great feature of Yunnanese tea- 


houses. He stands or sits on a little platform at the back 
of the room and tells his tales with many dramatic gestures 
and intonations. It is he who is often responsible for the 
popularity of certain restaurants. The Chinese who are 
so enthusiastic over the drama naturally appreciate the 
story-teller also. One often hears him far down the street. 
He sometimes engages a man with a wooden drum to 
accompany him and bang on his instrument at certain 
intervals. This is to punctuate his narrative and to em- 
phasize his most telling sentences which might otherwise 
pass unperceived. The drumming stands also for applause. 
The hearers themselves never show their appreciation ex- 
cept by a very occasional smile. They are none the less 
evidently interested for they listen attentively and never 
interrupt by talking among themselves. 

Most stories are about the supernatural spirits of the 
earth and air, genii, magical signs, &c. but there are also 
dramatic, sentimental and humourous recitals. 

The story-teller must possess the strongest larynx and 
lungs for he never seems to stop for breath. And he does 
not talk in an ordinary tone, making dramatic effects by 
pitching his voice a little lower or higher as we should 
do or by speaking slower or faster; he seems wound up 
like a clock; the shouting, the guttural sounds, the long 
drawling sentences follow each other mechanically. 

At certain hours but especially towards evening these 
restaurants become more lively, for a stove is brought just 
outside the entrance and dishes of all sorts and kinds are 
prepared for the evening meal. Cooks evidently like to 
display their dexterity publicly and perhaps too they count 
on attracting customers by the appetizing smells they 
send forth. 

The Chinaman is said to be the best cook in the world. He 
is supposed to be able to vary his dishes indefinitely even 
in a country where comestibles are very limited. If there 


are no cattle or sheep in the region, he will turn you out a 
hundred dishes from fowl or goat and would deceive you 
into the belief that you were eating a juicy slice of sirloin of 
beef or leg of mutton, if you did not know the impossibi- 
lity thereof. 

He also has an artistic way of serving up dishes so as to 
spare you the monotony which jades the appetite. He is 
also most economical and nothing is wasted. Naturally 
however the benefit goes into his own pocket rather than 
into his master's. 

Valuable a cook as he is to the European, to his own 
country-men he is still more so. Cooking to him is an art 
as well as a profession. 

Though the restaurant produces such a great variety 
of dishes for the choice of his customers, there seem 
to be some which are needed for every meal. I often used 
to peep into the saucepans and bowls as I passed down the 
street or stand for a minute and watch the frying of patties 
and cakes. 

Of course there was always rice and this often of varying 
qualities; the very white rice probably cost a tenth of a 
farthing more than that which was reddish coloured. Then 
there was always a long white jelly-like substance in the 
shape of a bar of scrubbing soap on a wooden board. In spite 
of its tumbly texture it was always cut into fine even slices. 
Soup made with meat or vegetables looking and smelling 
very much like our own product was always steaming 
in one of the saucepans, and often in an earthenware 
jar of cold water a number of hard-boiled hens' or ducks' 
eggs were lying. Then too there was fish ready cut up 
for frying or boiling. All sorts of maccaroni-like sub- 
stances and a great variety of cooked green herbs or 
vegetables filled a number of bowls on a shelf. A little of 
one or another was put round the rice for those who de- 
manded it. Some of the baked cakes looked quite appe- 



tizing; they were made with rice flour and sugar. I was 
occasionally tempted to buy a square of almond rock for 
one cent. It had very much the same taste as our own 
confections, though the Chinese use monkey nuts instead 
of almonds. 

Hanging inside the restaurant to a line strung across the 
room were generally a number of ducks, dried and pressed 
out as flat as the palm of one's hand, also sausages of all 
sizes and colours. It must be remembered that Chinese 
do not mind eating any dead animal, be it horse, dog, or 
cat, and it is immaterial to them whether it reached its end 
by disease or old age. Of course their universally favorite 
meat food is pig as is the case with all the people of the 
East. Yunnan Fou is celebrated for its hams and every 
visitor took one back to his friends in Tonking. The 
Yunnanese seem to like mutton nearly as well as pork 
and it is not very much more expensive for them. 

Meat is sold by weight, whereas fruit and vegetables 
are valued by handling and smelling. The Chinese have 
a curious weighing machine which is held in the hand. It 
is a thin metal bar with a hook on either end. The meat 
is hung on one hook the weights on the other and one fre- 
quently sees several anxious pairs of eyes intently watching 
the up and down movements of the instrument. It seems 
as if it would be most easy for the merchant to trick his 
customers by not holding the bar exactly in the centre, but 
as a rule buyers are as wary as sellers, and it must be be- 
lieved that they could not continue the custom if cheating 
was possible. A Chinese would kill himself for a cent so 
that a few grams more or less is a question of vital impor- 
tance. Fowls are always weighed alive and the cackling, 
twisting, struggling, animal is hung with its legs tied on the 
slender scales. 

All Chinese merchants seem to keep written accounts. 
In the small shops there is always a man bending over a 


big thin-leaved unbound book. By his side is the Chinese 
calculating machine, and every now and then he stops in 
his writing to push the wooden or porcelain balls up and 
down the metal rods. 

The booths and costermongers, who have no permanent 
roof, have their accounts done by professional scribes whom 
one sees here and there sitting in the street at a tiny high 
table under a big umbrella. They generally wear spec- 
tacles and their demeanour is rigid, grave and imposing. 
Passers-by glance at the learned scribe with respect and 
seem to feel it an honour to speak to him. The children 
are bold who dare look over his shoulder and watch him 

The shops, except those selling food and drinks, show little 
animation after sunset. Both sellers and buyers are so dis- 
trustful and suspicious that they prefer the full light of day 
for business dealings. The merchant probably keeps a 
special stock of stained or faded goods which he will try 
and pass off on the unwary customer with the help of arti- 
ficial light and it is certain that many buyers reserve their 
bad coins for dark hours. Electricity installed by a Ger- 
man firm has been in use in Yunnan Fou for two years and 
many of the better Chinese shops have taken advantage 
of it. Some however do not apparently like modern improve- 
ments and have stuck to their little evil-smelling petroleum 
lamps. These are difficult to keep alight in the open 
air, where there is always a slight breeze, and the top of 
the globe has to be protected from draughts by paper shades 
ingeniously contrived. Many merchants have not even 
tried anything so civilized in artificial lighting as petroleum 
and have retained their little oil lamps. These resemble 
small kettles which are hung up by a string where they are 
needed. The flame comes from the spout but the light that 
it gives out is less clear than that of a candle. These oil 
lamps are principally used in fruit and vegetable shops 


and in restaurants. Those selling the more modern inven- 
tions, alarm clocks, watches, soap, pictures of beautiful 
ladies in feathered hats or low-necked dresses, leather foot 
wear, pens and pencils, tooth-brushes, &c. are lighted by 

The three systems of lighting side by side give a curious 
aspect to the Yunnan Fou streets. Though little selling 
takes place after dark, shops shut very late. Work goes 
on until the early hours of the morning, the spinning, 
weaving, enamel-work, embroidery, painting or whatever 
the inmates profession may be, continues as steadily as 
during the day. This custom originated in the fear of rob- 
bers. Merchants preferred to keep guard during the night 
and only felt safe to sleep at dawn. For this reason shops 
are still closed when the sun is already high and there are 
special police regulations specifying the hours that they 
must open. As the rules are not observed, it is not rare to see 
the police arousing merchants and making them start bu- 
siness by force. All Eastern people, Japanese, Chinese, An- 
namese rise and go about their various occupations at day 
break so that Yunnan Fou presents an anomaly in this re- 
spect. Of course opium smoking which was formerly wi- 
dely indulged in in this centre of the opium trade, ma} 7 
have also had its influence. 

Walking through the streets as late as 8 and 9 a.m. I 
have often seen a Chinaman opening his door and making 
his first appearance into the light and air. His first action 
is to place a small earthenware terra-cotta bowl on the 
threshold, fill it with water and squatting over it rub his 
face with his hands then his arms and neck. No sponge, 
soap, or towel, seem to be necessary for the ordinary every 
day toilet. Then he takes down his shutters arranges his 
shop and the daily routine with its haggling and bargaining 


THE claims of etiquette are more severe in the East than 
in the West and in Yunnan, as throughout all China, the 
ceremonies attending an event of any importance are of 
even more consequence than the event itself. A Chinese 
will die content if everything appertaining to his funeral 
is ready and if he knows that all rites will be properly per- 
formed, whereas, if his coffin is not finished or if he is 
away from his family and home he will be in despair, doing 
all he can to prolong life. 

The Chinese proverb that the dead rule the living and 
that the most important thing in life is to die and be buried 
in a proper manner and one befitting a man's rank is en- 
graved on the soul of every Yunnanese. One day my hus- 
band accompanied Dr. Qui, the Annamese doctor of the 
French hospital to the bedside of a mandarin. The patient 
announced at once that he was going to die that day. He 
spoke calmly and quietly without a trace of fear or any 
other emotion. My husband at once explained that some- 
thing could be done for him and talked of oxygen and in- 
jections of cafeine, hoping to reassure him. But neither the 
mandarin nor his family needed comfort or consolation. 
They asked, however, how long he might prolong life with 
medical help and when they heard it was only a question 
of hours, or a day or two at most, they all shook their heads 
at the idea. No, all was ready for his death, the family had 



collected to say good-bye to him, there was no reason to 
put off the last moment if no hope of renewed vigour re- 
mained. Dr. Qui was not astonished at this attitude, for he 
had had long experience of it among the Annamese,but my 
husband who was accustomed to that clinging to life to the 
last which is natural to Europeans, was struck with ad- 
miration. The man died a few hours later talking quietly 
to his family and giving last directions about the ceremo- 
nies to be held after his death. 

The soul of a dead man is supposed to pass into the ance- 
stral tablet which is the most precious possession of every 
Chinese family and hangs above the family altar. His name 
is reverently inscribed underneath those of his father and 
grandfather in black characters on the narrow red board. 
The day of an important funeral is not fixed by rules of 
hygiene or convenience. Like so many other Chinese 
ceremonies the date is decided by professional fortune- 
tellers who declare that such a day is a "good" or 
"bad" day. The family listens to such counsels respect- 
fully and obeys implicitly, for "Chance" plays an impor- 
tant part in the life of the Chinese. A wedding day is thus 
determined also, and if well chosen will bring happiness, 
prosperity and above all, plenty of children to the young 
couple. The particular day of his birth is most important 
to a Chinese, for the knowledge that he has been favoured 
by Providence or the reverse will affect all his acts and 
ambitions for life. 

The day of his death, if unlucky, may be redeemed by per- 
spicacity and wisdom in the choice of the day of interment. 
In the case of the mandarin, of whom mention has been 
made, it was fixed for three or four days after his death. 
This was unfortunate for us, for his home being in close 
proximity to the hotel, we had the full benefit of the Chinese 
fiddles and tom-toms which did not cease night or day, till 
his body had left the house. To our unaccustomed ears, 


there seemed no melody in the performance and the mono- 
tonous scraping of the strings was most trying. Occasion- 
ally the wails of women rose above all other sounds mak- 
ing a weird impression in the middle of the night. 

One meets many funeral processions in the streets of 
Yunnan Fou but this was the most important I had seen. 
It must have been a "lucky day" for funerals, as I had al- 
ready met four when I chanced upon this one. Above the 
medley of pedlars' stalls, of packhorses, of hurrying pedes- 
trians whose predominant colour was blue, one became 
aware of red, white and multicoloured draperies carried 
aloft. As a rule these processions attract little attention from 
the passer-by, but in this case the sound of pipes and drums 
was so deafening, the apparata so numerous that fresh faces 
kept appearing at every shop door to gaze open-mouthed 
upon it. Nevertheless it did not occur to the ordinary pe- 
destrian to make way by standing on one side; the first 
coolies in the procession had literally to push their way 
through the crowded street. All carried banners, blue red 
or white inscribed with gold characters. They were follo- 
wed by four coolies carrying, by means of poles over their 
shoulders, a high erection of white draperies and cording. 
There were round slabs of cardboard or wood covered with 
white linen and boards with white frills round them super- 
posed one above the other with white netting in between. 
Folio wing, was another high scaffolding of the same sort, only 
with red ornamentations. The third carried little dummy 
figures on wires made of cardboard or paper which swayed 
to and fro with the movements of the coolies. I counted 
twenty-five of these curious erections before the coffin 
came into sight. They did not differ much in size or shape, 
some resembled a Noah's Ark, others a doll's house, others 
a Punch and Judy show. The last coolies carried a life-size 
picture, probably a portrait of the defunct. Walking along- 
side were men carrying Chinese squibs which they let off 


one at a time at regular intervals. One was dropped close 
to me and exploding at my feet, made me start, much to 
the amusement of the onlookers. Interspersed between the 
different items of the procession were drums and pipes 
which let forth weird sounds, a style of music which appa- 
rently accompanies all great ceremonies, weddings and 
funerals alike. 

The red lacquered coffin was on an open catafalque. 
There were no flowers, but it was draped with red and 
white banners. The chief mourners, consisting of three 
young men, followed the coffin. They were dressed entirely 
in white and were bending nearly double as they walked, 
never lifting their heads or eyes. Saliva trickled from their 
mouths. Two friends walking very erect on either side 
of each mourner, supported him by passing their arms 
beneath his armpits. They must have sustained almost 
his entire weight or he could not have kept up this position, 
a sign to the world of prostrate grief. 

Behind the relations came walking two and two a num- 
ber of students in blue tunics and trousers of very bad Eu- 
ropean cut. I imagine they were pupils of the defunct or 
perhaps they were simply friends of the sons. Last of all 
came a number of chairs, all closely shut, from which is- 
sued the usual wailings. Now and again I caught sight of 
the white powdered face of some girl through the wire net- 
ting of the chair and I was relieved to see that her ex- 
pression was hardly in keeping with the doleful sounds 
which kept breaking from her. Her bright eyes were glan- 
cing here and there and she was evidently noting with plea- 
sure the interest that the procession was arousing. From 
her closed cage, she could naturally see us better than we 
could see her. 

It is in a similar chair that the bride goes to her future 
home. After many official visits of the future bridegroom 


and of his parents to her home, and the presentation of the 
traditional wedding presents, the bride finally goes to the 
house of her parents-in-law where the last ceremony takes 
place. This consists chiefly in prostrations of the bride to 
her husband and his parents indicative of her entire sub- 
mission to their will. For strange as it may seem it is not 
the character of her husband that will make or mar her 
happiness so much as that of his mother. It is she who 
will rule the household and the slightest fault or misde- 
meanour of her daughter-in-law will be severely punished. 
Only when a son is born will her lot be improved. The 
only woman for whom a man is supposed to show the 
slightest consideration and whom he does not look down 
upon as his absolute inferior is his mother, and she by years 
of submission to men, just because they are men, rarely 
exercises her will even on her sons. Those women there- 
fore who have suffered in bitterness of spirit from sup- 
pression and tyranny vent all their pent-up feelings of 
rebellion and spite on their daughters-in-law. They in their 
turn do the same. 

During the marriage ceremony, if the girl happens to sit 
on a lappet of her husband's coat it is a sign that she will 
govern rather than be governed. Such like superstitions 
are often corroborated by fact for the Chinese believe in 
them so firmly that they are unconsciously influenced by 

Etiquette and superstitions take not only a predominant 
part in such important ceremonies as weddings and fune- 
rals, but in the smaller events of everyday life. 

In Yunnan Fou I had the good fortune to be included 
in an invitation together with the wives of the British and 
French Consuls to dinner at the Governor's palace. At 
5 o'clock when our friends was just about to begin tennis 
we women in our evening dresses, were packed into 
chairs with many admonitions as to how to behave and 


what to say. Just as we were starting a red paper was 
brought to the Consulate. Mr. Wilden opened it and told 
us it was our invitation to the Palace ! I was astonished for 
we had had one already, had accepted it and were practi- 
cally on the way there. It occurred to me that perhaps 
we w r ere late and this was to hurry us forward. But no! 
It appeared it was mere etiquette to repeat the invitation 
at the last moment. 

Our chair coolies flew through the narrow streets with 
us. They shouted out and knocked people aside more 
peremptorily than ever, for were we not on our way to their 
much-feared and much-respected Governor. They evi- 
dently aspired to let everybody know our destination and 
the honour which had been shown us. 

We naturally did not see General Tsai nor any other 
high Government official. Even those Chinese in continual 
touch with Western manners and customs and who seem 
to fall in with them easily have not adopted the one of di- 
ning with their wives in public. 

I was solemnly introduced to all the ladies present before 
we sat down to our meal. The whole ceremony was very 
slow, very pompous and would have been very dull except 
for the novelty of it. 

All the ladies were in their best and richest clothes, but 
the colours were sombre with no bright touches except in 
the embroidery. I think we were more at ease than our 
hosts, in spite of the fact that it was rather we than they who 
would be liable to make mistakes. I had been to Chinese 
dinners before and knew a little what to expect in the way 
of food, but never had I seen so many and varied dishes 
as here. They seemed never ending and though at first I 
had let few pass without tasting, I was obliged to give up 
even the pretence of eating towards the end for the meal. 

Conversation was desultory and as only one lady might 
talk at a time, it was not easy to ask the questions I wished 


and to converse in the same manner as in a tete a tete. 
And naturally a slow labouring interpreter is a great 
handicap ! 

The one assigned to me and who stood behind my chair 
evidently thought that, being a new-comer, I did not know 
what to say nor how to express myself and I am sure he 
added many superfluous adjectives and so rounded off my 
sentences that he did not at all translate my thoughts. I could 
tell this from the answers he reproduced, but nevertheless 
politeness obliged me to smile and nod at my neighbour 
as if I had understood and agreed with her. True under- 
standing as between Europeans of different nationalities 
was impossible. 

The most interesting incident of the evening was the in- 
troduction to us of the second wife of General Tsai. She 
was a Yunnanese and presented to him by the people of 
Yunnan Fou when he became Governor of the province 
after the Revolution. His first and legal wife had her sum- 
moned just after we had sat down to dinner. She came in 
with downcast eyes, either embarrassed by our presence 
or fearful of her co-partner. She was not invited to sit 
down and only stayed in the room a few minutes for Ma- 
dame Tsai No. 1., after we had all stared at the poor wo- 
man, signed to her that she might disappear again. A few 
weeks after this dinner, the tables were apparently turned, 
for we heard that Madame Tsai No. 2. was in great favour, 
and that her predecessor was on her way to Honan to 
make a prolonged stay at her father's house. 

We left the Governor's palace about nine, thankful to 
stretch our legs again after three hours at table on hard 
Chinese chairs. The last, half hour, like the first, was spent 
in making speeches of welcome and thanks the same 
things said over and over again in different words. 



THE Chinese are as enthusiastic play-goers as we ourselves. 
It is perhaps their favourite mode of entertainment. All towns 
of any size boast one or more theatres and in the villages, 
the temples, being the largest buildings, are put at the dis- 
posal of the strolling troupes of actors who frequent every 
corner of the Empire. The Chinese spectator does not 
demand all the scenic effects to which we are accustomed 
so that stages can be improvised without difficulty. Even 
in the best theatres, there is practically no scenery, little 
furniture and no effects from coloured lights. 

We require that every detail of staging and costume shall 
be correct to be capable of being illusioned but the Chinese 
are content with the gesture and words of the actors. They 
have more imagination presumably and are consequently 
able to create the right atmosphere of the piece without 
the help of superfluous details. 

Plays are often acted too in private houses. A host will 
entertain his guests by engaging a troupe of actors and giving 
a performance during or after dinner. Towards the middle 
of the meal which is served at small tables, he passes round 
a list of plays and asks his guests to choose one of them. 
When the piece has been decided on, the curtain goes up 
and the diners from their tables watch the performance 
while they continue to taste and sip the interminable dishes 
and drinks which are served to them. 



Shortly after the curtain has gone up it is customary to 
admit the public to the back of the room. As soon as the 
doors are open an eager crowd presses in and stands there 
open-eyed and open-mouthed till the last word has been 

They make a more appreciative audience than the blase 
over-fed guests. This mode of allowing the public to witness 
theatricals in private houses (privacy is not as with us a 
most prized luxury) accounts for the small number of 
theatres existing among a people whose histrionic taste is 
so developed. The Chinese get the benefit of such plays in 
all sorts of places and are thus able to indulge in their 
favorite pastime without going to the theatre. 

The pieces written for the stage are innumerable. For 
centuries Chinese authors have devoted their talents in this 
direction. The drama has tempted them more than any 
other kind of literature. Some periods have naturally pro- 
duced more than others. The subjects are very various but 
perhaps the most popular one has always been that of filial 
piety. This is the theme of Pi-Pa-Ki generally considered 
the best known play in China. 

It is curious that a people who are so enthusiastic over 
dramatic art should despise actors. Yet they are consi- 
dered by far the lowest class in China. Open contempt is 
shown to all who belong to this profession and they are 
nowhere admitted to the ordinary social life. It is true 
that the actors themselves seem to hold themselves as a 
class apart, and neither in dress nor in manners to con- 
form to ordinary usage. They seem to be intentionally 
eccentric. But perhaps this is natural among those who 
lead a wandering life for they have lost the essential cha- 
racteristic of their race the permanent hearth and home. 

We Western peoples, who think nothing of changing 
our place of residence, find it difficult to understand that clin- 
ging to one exact spot, one particular roof. For the Chinese 


it seems impossible to carry on their family life except in 
the home of their ancestors. 

At one time women acted as well as men, but those who 
did so were classed with prostitutes. They were considered 
beneath contempt. Then a century or two ago they were 
forbidden to act at all: it was considered not only immoral 
for the women themselves but also immoral for the spec- 
tators to hear virtuous words and witness virtuous deeds 
through the medium of characters so much despised in 
real life, the idea no doubt being that such worthless 
women should not be the means of inspiring sympathy 
and exhorting to piety. 

It was naturally a terrible blow to dramatic art to give 
women's roles to young men and boys. How could one 
sex express all the sentiments and feelings of the other? 
No man understands the heart and mind of a woman so 
how could he thrill an audience with emotions of which 
he knows nothing? No such acting could be convincing. 

Probably however, China has not a long way to go on 
the road to civilization before she allows her women to 
take up the profession again. 

We were delighted when soon after our arrival in Yunnan 
Fou, we were able to get an idea of the Chinese theatre for 
ourselves. One day the British Consul suggested that we 
should make up a party and go there. We accepted the 
proposal with alacrity. 

Yunnan Fou boasts two theatres, the most important 
being situated in a sort of public garden near the South 
Gate. This garden is a favorite resort by day as well as in 
the evening for though there are no flowers or caged 
animals, there is space and quiet and thus a relief from 
the streets. A number of tea-houses and restaurants of the 
better sort, scattered here and there, also attract many vi- 
sitors. Some of the tea-houses are quite picturesque; in- 
stead of being entirely open to the public gaze there are 


trellises covered with climbing plants in front of the veran- 
dah which lend a little privacy. Flowers in pots stand on 
the ledges of the balcony or are grouped at either side of 
the entrance making the restaurant look like a small 

The largest building in the garden is the theatre. Before 
entering, permission had been asked that we might all sit 
together in the same box, for in a Chinese theatre men and 
women are separated. Our party consisting of the British 
and French Consuls and their wives, the Italian Consul, 
and ourselves arrived together at the theatre entrance. 
We had difficulty in finding our way through the me!6e of 
chairs and coolies who blocked the doors. For a space of 
some twenty yards the utmost confusion reigned. Chairs 
were locked together by their shafts, coolies were pushing 
each other and quarelling. The light was dim for though 
many of the coolies carried lanterns which they held aloft 
for the benefit of their masters, these were pretty rather 
than useful. 

However we finally collected our forces and showing our 
long slips of papers (tickets and programmes) to a blue 
robed, spectacled, Chinese, in a little box-office, we were 
led up a bare wooden staircase. 

The box of honour which was allotted to us was unfor- 
tunately just over the orchestra, if one can call an orchestra 
a collection of 4 men making as much noise as possible, on 
a drum, and other instruments. For me the din they made 
completely spoilt the evening. For one thing it gave me a 
headache and for another it was absolutely impossible to 
hear any remark among ourselves or the explanations with 
which our interpreter occasionally enlightened us. Chinese 
comedies and dramas are not concluded in one performance 
as with us. Sometimes they last two or three days. And one 
must not expect to follow the story closely (that is not the 
aim of authors, actors or audience). It is a curious fact 


that the language is not always understood by those Chinese 
who only rarely go to the theatre. 

The scene being played when we entered was that of a w r o- 
man pleading before a tribunal. Staging, as I said before, is of 
very little consequence in the eyes of the Chinese and the law- 
court was represented by a long table behind which sat the 
judges. That was the only piece of furniture. There were no 
mats on the bare wooden floor, no curtains round the walls 
to represent wings and hide the entrances and exits. The 
doors on to the stage were often carelessly left open and one 
caught a glimpse of a crowded room where numbers of 
actors were dressing and undressing. 

The woman in flowing robe, probably some former mode 
of Chinese dress, was throwing herself into every attitude 
before the silent implacable judge. Her cheeks were bright 
red, her figure lithe and supple, her black oiled hair was 
coiled up in wonderful fashion, she had long-nailed, white, 
taper-like fingers. Her quick and agile movements as she 
begged for mercy or indignantly denied the crime of which 
she was accused were astonishing when her dress, swinging 
aside, disclosed to us her tiny feet. They w r ere not more than 
three inches long and though perhaps not smaller than 
many others we had seen, yet no one possessed of such 
small extremities who did not hobble along like a cripple. 

Then I remembered that no Chinese woman is ever 
allowed on the stage and that this must be a man taking 
a woman's part. I enquired how the small feet were 
engineered and was told that men who wish to train for 
woman's roles must learn to walk, run, skip, and dance on 
the tips of their toes like ballet dancers. The little Chinese 
shoe is fixed on the wearer's toe and his heel is cleverly cam- 
ouflaged. The greatest skill and agility is required to spring 
about and twist and turn with the feet in such an unnatural 

The effort demanded of the body, arms, legs, fingers and 






head which were all in movement at the same time, was 
equalled moreover by that demanded of the voice and lungs. 
The language of the stage is not the language of the street. 
Unnatural voices, shrieking, speaking though the nose, 
guttural sounds in the throat, are their principle modes of 
expression, and all is done with such energy that they some- 
times look as if they would burst themselves. 

This woman, evidently accused of the theft of a parcel 
which was placed on the table before the judge, became 
frenzied in her protestations of innocence. She blinded and 
deafened us by her extravagant gestures and high pitched 
tones. The judge remained unmoved however. He sat 
with unchanging expression, looking like one of the temple 
Buddhas. His puffy, whitened face, thick eyebrows and long 
drooping moustaches resembled exactly one of the deities 
in the pagoda of the 500 genii. He did not appear to take 
any interest in the criminal nor even the witnesses for 
the prosecution defence, a whole string of whom continu- 
ally came and went off the stage. He must have finally 
condemned the prisoner for an executioner suddenly ap- 
peared who \vith a dagger cut her throat. During her death 
agony she leant against a man, who turned and rounded his 
back to support her. After remaining motionless in this po- 
sition for a few seconds, the blood streaming from her throat, 
she was gently let down to the ground by her supporter 
who disappeared. I gathered he was not a character of the 
piece but some sort of stage dummy supposed to be invisible. 

The Court of justice is a favourite stage topic in Chinajust 
as suicide is in Japan. Both are the result of the desire for 
revenge, men or women who are determined to punish or 
be even with their enemies. A Chinese prefers to go to law 
in order to ruin his enemy, a Japanese prefers to kill him 
and commit suicide. When a Chinese borrows money from 
his master, friends, or family, it is generally either for a 
funeral or for taking a case to law. He does not seem to 


mind that the suit may prove a pecuniary loss to him so 
long as he can bring his enemy to book, expose his evil 
deed, and triumph over him in public. While I was staying 
at the British Consulate at Yunnan Fou, a man employed 
in the office asked for a month's leave. 


To go to Chang Lu. 

What for? 

To bring a law suit against an enemy who has defrau- 
ded me. 

Of how much? 

Thirty dollars. 

But you will spend more than that to go to Chan Lu ? 

Yes, but it must be done. 

How much will it cost you, journey and law suit included ? 

Over 100 dollars. 

Have you that amount? 

I have borrowed it. 

At what percentage? 

Fifteen per cent. 

But will you be able to pay it back? 

I do not know. 

You will be ruined. 

I must punish my enemy. He has defrauded me. 

But you will lose time and money and gain nothing in 
the end. 

I must be revenged on my enemy. 

And if he cannot pay you? If he does not possess thirty 

I will take his house, his food, his field. 

Suppose he has none of those things? 

I will take from him all he has. 

But you will spend 100 dollars when at the most you 
will get thirty and perhaps not that? 



And in spite of all arguments, the man stuck to his deter- 
mination and went off the next week with his borrowed 

I never heard the end of the story. But he very probably 
was not back in a month and so lost his situation as well 
as his money. 

Though revenge is the principal reason for which a Chinese 
goes to law, many seem to be fascinated by the atmosphere 
of a law-court and will engage in a suit for the mere pleasure 
of the mise en scene. To hear a judge and jury decide in his 
favour in front of the whole world is perhaps the greatest 
moment of triumph in the life of a Chinese. The difficulties 
of borrowing the necessary funds, of seeking out and coach- 
ing the witnesses, of bribing those who can influence the 
issue of the proceedings, seem only to add to his ardour. 

It is not surprising then, that this national characteristic 
should be represented on the stage and arouse enthusiasm 
in the spectators. 

After this scene the piece seemed to change, and in spite 
of the explanations of Amah whom the British Consul's wife 
had brought with her, we could find no connection with 
what had gone before. Amah was so excited that her Eng- 
lish was incomprehensible and so anxious was she not to 
miss a word of what was passing that she broke off in the 
middle of every sentence. Her face was nearly as red as 
that of the painted actress and she amused us with her un- 
restrained laughter at the jokes, and her convulsive clutch- 
ings at her chair when all did not run smoothly with the 

The interest now turned on two married couples, one 
woman plotting to kill her husband with the help of the 
other man who was her lover. The wife first drugged her 
husband, making him drink alcohol into which she had 
poured some sort of poison. When he had fallen forward 
on to the table, she called in her lover who was waiting 


behind a small screen which represented the adjoining 
room, and together they killed him and dragged him off 
the stage. 

Then came a whole series of incidents, murders, suici- 
des, men with whips, jailors with prisoners, more tribunals, 
the abandoned wife being a tragic figure and taking part in 
every event. 

This medley of incidents and the numbers of characters 
introduced one after another gave the impression of a bad 
dream. As in a nightmare, one strained to understand in- 
comprehensible things and to put straight inextricable ele- 
ments of confusion. 

Our attentions were continually distracted from the 
stage by the theatre attendants who from time to time 
passed in front of us offering refreshments. As soon as we 
entered, bowls of tea had been served to us and these 
were replenished every five minutes by a small Chinese 
boy with a large kettle who ran along a small ledge on the 
outside of the boxes. If he had not had the physique of a 
tight-rope walker he would have assuredly fallen on the 
heads of the audience below. We were offered not only 
tea but dried prunes, plums, raisins of all sorts and seve- 
ral kinds of small nuts or almonds. I tasted nearly 
everything paying no attention to my husband's frowns 
and wilfully, ignoring the fact that these dainties must have 
been touched and fingered by numerous hands. Some of 
the plums were quite good. 

The Chinese audience interested us greatly. One balcony 
opposite us, divided into boxes, was entirely filled by women. 
They seemed mostly young women and there were many 
girls and small children. The whole of the parterre was 
taken by men. They were more excited and enthusiastic 
than the women, laughed louder, stood up oftener and evi- 
dently grasped the various situations much more quickly. 

Suddenly there was a movement which seemed to elec- 


trify all the audience and looking towards the stage I 
saw the woman who had murdered her husband throw 
herself off a high table on to the floor. Around her were 
standing hideous men with all sorts of weapons and queer 
instruments. They were rejoicing at her fall. They danced 
round her with wild antics and triumphant cries, entirely 
loathsome in their savage glee. 

The meaning of this weird and gruesome picture sud- 
denly dawned upon me, the wicked woman of the story 
had commited suicide and thrown herself into Hell. These 
inhuman-looking monsters were devils of the nether world. 

From this moment till the end of the evening a series of 
tortures followed each other continuously, each one always 
worse than the last. This was the part of the performance 
that the audience looked forward to most eagerly and ac- 
counted for that wave of excitement I had noticed. 

It was awful to think, as we watched this horrible scene, 
that these very tortures had been inflicted by the Chinese 
not only in times past, but that, during the revolution, such 
atrocities had taken place in this very town only two years 
before. And they had not moreover been confined to vic- 
tims of their own race; Europeans too had endured these 
things. This thought filled me with a hatred of the Chinese 
that I had not felt before. And the gloating of the spec- 
tators over the realistic scene was even more disgusting 
than the actual tortures. Their attitude was a proof that 
cruelty was inherent in their nature. If war again broke 
out the same methods would be employed: death by tor- 
ture would await all who fell into their hands. 

If the Chinese fail to be altogether convincing in their love 
scenes or family quarrels, they make their tortures as life- 
like as possible. We saw men stripped and beaten while 
they shrieked for mercy, others bound hand and foot and 
thrown on to boards covered with sharp nails. How they 
simulated the blood pouring from every wound I do not 


know. Then there were others whose tongues were cut out 
before being tortured and the silent writhing of the victims 
was worse than their shrieks. Men were crucified or cut to 
pieces inch by inch. First the nose was sliced off and flung 
aside, then the ears, the eyes followed suit, &c. &c. 

My husband kept saying to me "Don't look just now. 
Don't look" but though I continually turned away in hor- 
ror, the scene had a horrible fascination and I glanced to- 
wards the stage every few seconds in spite of myself. 

Even children were tortured. Fires were lit and when 
the flame sprang up high in sudden gusts, tiny mites en- 
tirely naked were passed from hand to hand from the 
wings to the man in charge of the fire who dropped them 
in. Though perhaps the children were not actually scor- 
ched or burnt, the torture to them was evident; one could 
see how terrified they were and how they shrank and threw 
themselves back as they reached the flames. But their strug- 
gles were useless; the huge brawny man, a hideous-looking 
monster, mercilessly held them for a second above the fire 
and they disappeared from sight. I think what seemed to 
us to be a solid mass of flame was probably only a narrow 
line of fire, a circle or semi-circle which flared up for a 
minute at a time and gave out little heat. Any how they 
were not burnt for it was the same two or three children 
who were brought back to the wings and passed along 
again and again. That they did not accustom themselves to 
the ordeal was very clear, yet nobody protested at these small 
mites acting in such a scene. It was a wicked performance. 

There were other tortures of children which I hid from 
my eyes, it was enough to see them standing naked, white 
and motionless tied to a stake. I could not look further. 

Some men were cut open and disembowelled before 
they were killed. Yard and yards of entrails were pulled 
across the stage. The torturers as well as the victims them- 
selves were covered with blood. 


I had seen pictures of all the tortures practised by the 
Chinese in one of the temples close to the town. All along 
the wall on one side, behind a row of plaster Buddhas, were 
depicted those inflicted on men, on the opposite wall, those 
inflicted on women. They were painted with much detail 
and in bright colours human victims cut in half with a 
saw, ground down by a mill stone, thrown to wild animals, 
tied to the top of a stake and slowly burnt by a fire beneath. 
Thus I was not altogether unprepared for the scenes before us. 
But I could stand no more. I felt sick and asked my hus- 
band to take me away. We were followed by the rest of 
our party. The crowd below who had been at first much 
interested in our gestures of approval or disapproval did 
not even notice our exit. They were mostly standing, strain- 
ing forward lest they should miss a single detail of the 
scene before them. Their eager, cruel expressions, their 
glistening eyes feasting on the scene of blood, was as hor- 
rifying as the performance itself. 

We had stayed however, as we heard next day, almost 
to the end of the act. A few decapitations finished the 
evening. Men were forced down on their knees, their 
necks placed over blocks of w r ood and their heads severed 
by a single stroke of the executioner's sword. The bodies 
rolled in one direction, the heads in another, a most my- 
stifying and clever trick. 

We had all of us seen enough however and did not re- 
gret having missed this final act. I vowed it should be my 
first and last visit to an Oriental theatre. We heard later 
that the particular performance we had seen was rare, al- 
most unique in Chinese theatrical annals and that we ought 
to consider ourselves extremely lucky to have seen it!! 


THE Yunnan Fou Plateau like the other plateaux of the 
province was formerly a vast lake. It is on these ancient 
lake beds, which are of extraordinary fertility that all the 
towns and large Yunnanese villages are to be found. 
These great stretches of flat land of which every corner 
is cultivated support nearly the whole of the Yunnanese 
population. The rough and sterile mountain-sides are 
left to the Shans and other aboriginal races. 

When travelling across the province and for days seeing 
nothing but precipitous slopes and rocky river-beds, a pla- 
cid lake whose banks team with life or the even surface 
of a plateau bearing on its vast bosom a town and many 
villages comes as a most agreable surprise. 

The Yunnanese manage to produce two or three crops 
a year; in summer the whole plateau is one huge rice-field, 
in winter cereals are for the most part grown. 

I had expected to see poppy fields round Yunnan Fou, 
for this district was at one time more famed for its opium 
than any other part of China, but for several years now 
the law has been so drastically enforced that there re- 
mains no sign of the cultivation of the forbidden drug. On the 
arrival of General Tsai as Governor of the province at the 
time of the Revolution, the last fields were stamped down 
and destroyed by his troops. It is said however that since 
his departure for Pekin poppy-seed has again been sown 
in small quantities in well-hidden spots. 



No rivers run across the Yunnan Fou plateau. It is irri- 
gated by canals which, centuries ago, must have been cut 
along the beds of tiny streams for they are never straight 
but wander in and out across the even surface of the plain. 
The banks of these canals catch the eye, for they stand 5 or 
6 feet high and are planted with pine or cypress trees. Here 
we liked best to ride, for the little path on the top of the 
bank was not stone-paved like the high roads and the trees 
gave us welcome shade. Our coolies and mafous by ener- 
getic signs always protested against our following such a 
path for naturally it was never the shortest or most direct. 
A Chinese cannot understand our dislike to his national 
paved roads; the stumbling of his steed is no discomfort 
to him. 

The villages round Yunnan Fou all lie along these canals. 
Wells have nevertheless to be dug, for during a short period 
before the summer rains, many of the canals dry up. They 
are seldom used however, except as a resting place for the 

We found these Yunnanese villages most picturesque and 
an absolute contrast to those in Annam or Tonking. In 
the Tonkinese delta a village is recognized by thick high 
bamboo hedges and groups of betel-nut palms. No huts 
are visible from the outside and even when you penetrate 
through the village door which is little more than a hole in 
the hedge, the low thatched roofs are very unnoticable. Nor 
do the children playing round their homes attract attention ; 
their little naked bodies or drab coloured clothes are lost 
in their surroundings. 

The Yunnanese village is surrounded by a mud brick 
wall, and all the houses are made also of mud bricks. 
Narrow passages serve as streets and though many large 
courtyards separate groups of houses there are few open 
spaces. It is the inhabitants themselves who make the 
Yunnanese village picturesque. The red cheeks of women 


and children their bright coloured clothes, their manner 
of grouping themselves at their doorway, their attitudes 
as they nurse their babies talk, sow, or wash, engage one 
to stop and peep into every courtyard. There are no trees 
or bushes either round the villages or inside the walls, the 
green foliage of Annamese villages is absolutely wanting. 
They spring up in the midst of the even surface of rice- 
fields like a small ant-hill in the short grass. If it was not 
for the pines and cypresses overhanging the canal along 
which nearly all houses stand, there would be no vegetation 
at all. But it is just this stream of water with its trees on 
either side which is the chief characteristic of the villages 
on the Yunnan Fou plateau. On one of our first rides we 
came to a village on a canal path where all the inhabi- 
tants seemed to be occupied on its banks. The canal was 
deep, and here and there stone steps ancient and worn, 
evidently centuries old ran down to the water. Men and 
children were mounting and descending these staircases 
carrying their wooden buckets which they had filled with 

Further on were women washing clothes scrubbing away, 
apparently without soap, at shapeless looking garments. 
Again were children washing rice and maize in baskets, 
or scraping the mud off potatoes and other vegetables. 
Some were having a bath at the same time. Horses were 
being watered where the bank was less steep and at one 
spot I even saw two men looking like immovable statues 
silently fishing with rod and line. 

In the centre of the village was a broad round unrailed 
bridge, very old, very picturesque. These round bridges 
in the form of a big cart-wheel are always an attractive 
feature in China. They seem to be the favorite resort of 
those who can enjoy a little idleness, here the men come 
to smoke and meditate, the women with their babies and 
girls with their sowing who want to chat together. The 


children prefer to be on the canal edge, with their hands 
and feet dabbling in the water and splashing each other. 

Instead of taking us across this bridge our guide led us 
a little further down the village where we found one con- 
sisting of two planks of wood. Probably he feared to dis- 
turb those sitting there, or perhaps he was curious to see 
how we should comport ourselves on horse back at such 
a juncture. If so, he must have been disappointed for we 
all passed over without hesitation or comment though as 
regards myself I trembled with nervousness. On the further 
side the villagers had built their houses close up to the 
banks leaving a margin of less than a foot wide for passers- 
by. As we happened to meet a buffalo with a small boy on 
its back just at this spot, the stupidity of such lack of space 
was brought home to me. If I tried to pass the monster, 
either my pony or the buffalo must be forced down the 
bank probably my pony and perhaps not untouched by 
those enormous horns which for me seemed to fill the 
whole horizon. I hesitated to turn round on the narrow 
path lest my steed should start a fight with the pony behind, 
besides it might have the effect of obliging the whole caval- 
cade chairs included, to turn round too. On the whole I pre- 
ferred facing the obstacle to having it at my heels. As I 
was in the fore-front I shouted out in English to the 
child to take his animal down the banks and emphasized 
my words with ferocious signs. I knew very well by ex- 
perience that these children can manage their charges with- 
out danger or difficulty. What was my relief when the child 
obeyed and even improved upon my orders. He turned the 
bulky animal completely round and made it retrace its 
steps at a jog-trot. This was done by a mere twist by the 
little hand of the rope attached to the beast's nostrils. 

Neither in Tonking nor China are these domesticated 
buffaloes really dangerous.. Though they do not like a white 
man and scent him a long distance off they are easily con- 


trolled by a native child whom they know. Nevertheless 
one of these monsters at close quarters is a somewhat 
unnerving sight. 

Before we were out of the village our narrow canal path 
was entirely blocked by bundles of rough fire-wood which 
were being loaded into a sampan. I turned therefore to the 
right through a village street so narrow that I could touch 
the low doors of the houses on either side with my stirrups. 
Women and children on the thresholds looked up at us in 
surprise; they were not used to seeing Europeans in their 
obscure alley. The economy of space in a town bounded by 
fortress walls one can understand but why this crowding to- 
gether in a village merely surrounded by ricefields? The 
Chinese love to live herded together, and privacy and quiet 
which are so essential to our comfort do not appeal to them 
at all. Having no nerves and the way one's chair coolies 
sleep is sufficient evidence of that happy omission in their 
anatomy they do not mind the noise nor the discomfort 
which is entailed by living one on the top of the other. A 
Chinese can sleep in any and every position whether sitting 
on a small stone with no support to his head, or lying full- 
length on a narrow bench or the balustrade of a bridge. 
It is all the same to him whether he be exposed to the 
full sun, or with no protection on a cold night, he sleeps 
as heavily. He may be surrounded by a mass of bark- 
ing dogs, native squibs may be exploding like so many 
guns at his door he is not disturbed. No shouting in his 
ear could ever wake my chair coolie, it was only a shake 
or a whack with a stick which could arouse him. This capa- 
city for sleep is the only thing for which I envy the Chinese. 
What strength it would give to us if we could sleep like that. 

In the open spaces between the village streets were 
round stacks of hay covered with straw thatch. They were 
so close together that it was with great difficulty we could 
pass between them. If there was a free spot of ground avai- 


lable, be sure a woman would immediately employ it for 
spreading out her clothes or laying out her paddy to dry 
or for beating out the grain from the stalks. For this latter 
purpose by the way, they used long sticks of which the bot- 
tom half was firm and the top half turned round on itself 
coming down with force on the dry stalks. 

Nowhere round Yunnan Fou are bricks baked artificially. 
All the huts are built with sun-dried bricks which keep their 
natural mud colour. If seemed to me astonishing that walls 
thus made should not crumble or fall down of their own 
weight but probably owing to the very dry climate at this 
high attitude, they seem to resist well. 

As in Indochina it is principally the women who are 
employed in the rice- fields. It is they quite as often as the 
men, who are to be seen working the water-mill which 
draws the water from the canal to irrigate the fields. They 
stand by couples pushing the handles to and fro from early 
morning to late evening. The ploughing of the fields, which 
is only started when they are flooded and the water has 
softened the earth, is done by the men. It requires more 
than a woman's strength to keep the clumsy plough at the 
proper angle and at the same time direct the movements 
of the buffaloe which drags it. Fortunately buffaloes are a 
domesticated animal in the East for one ^cannot imagine 
horses plodding up and down in the deep mud and water. 
Buffaloes are never so happy as rolling in wet mud so that 
the slow movement to and fro, with the water often up to 
their knees is no uncongenial task to them. 

The rice is always sown closely in one corner of a field, 
and when some ten inches high is planted out shoot by 
shoot. This is women's work and when we first arrived 
in Yunnan Fou we could never go beyond the walls 
without seeing rows of women in the fields, up to their 
knees in mud, pushing down the shoots into the soft earth. 
Most of these women wore red cotton trousers and as they 


bent low over their task one could only see their rounded 
backs and their big straw hats. It gave the impression of a 
row of en ormous scarlet stalked mushrooms in a sea of green. 
They rarely raised their heads except to take fresh bund- 
les of shoots from a child who fetched them at intervals 
from the sown patch of emerald green. If, however, during 
that momentary pause, one of them happened to catch 
sight of us she would draw the attention of her companions. 
Then they would all stand upright and stare and laugh at 
us, making jocular remarks to us or about us. Their faces 
were nearly as red as their trousers with heat and exertion. 
When we had passed by and they had exhausted their 
stock of comments on our general bearing and appearance, 
they would give themselves a last stretch and continue 
their task. The children, whom their mothers had brought 
to the field with them, remained on the dikes between the 
fields. Some of them were looking after the buffaloes not 
in use for ploughing and preventing them eating the young 
rice. In Tonking little girls are often in charge of these 
monster animals and it is really curious to see a small mite 
under ten years old sitting fearlessly on the buffalo's back 
with her bare legs dangling over the rough grey hide. Some- 
times she lies full length along its back and sleeps in this 
position balancing herself instinctively as the buffalo moves 
slowly along munching the grass. Yet in some ways they are 
much more timid than the boys and if my husband and 
I, on an excursion, called to a group of children it was 
only the boys who would come forward. If we then drew 
attention to the girls in the back ground or beckoned to 
them, they would immediately take to their heels with or 
without their buffaloes. When we told the boys to fetch 
the girls they only laughed. 

But in Yunnan as in Annam, it is only the boys who look 
after the buffaloes. They certainly like their task for it 
gives them a free and out-of-door life. From sun-rise to 


sun-set they are in the open, leading their charges to the 
best patches of grass in the neighbourhood driving them 
into the shade of the trees when the sun is hot and to 
the water in the evening. All day long they play hide and 
seek, scampering in and out between the grey monsters or 
they sleep on their backs or they lie and dream on the 
grass at their feet. In the evening the}' strip, throwing aside 
their little trousers and tunics and accompany their charges 
into the water. The animals obey them with as much do- 
cility as if these mites of children with their little canes 
could hurt them through their thick hide. The children 
enjoy their bath as much as the buffaloes and on hot days 
remain for hours in the water. 

The baby buffaloes in their gambles sometimes stray from 
the rest of the herd and the children then imitate the shrill 
snort of the mother and bring them back without the trouble 
of going to fetch them. It is only just before dusk that the 
children, tired out, drive them back to the village. 

Buffaloes are the only animals for which the Chinese 
really seem to have any affection or to which they give 
proper care. Horses, dogs and cats are not only uncared 
for, but are often needlessly tortured. 

Probably girls are not to be seen with the buffaloes in 
China because, owing to their bandaged feet, they are not 
capable of any duties which call for activity. In Yunnan, it is 
not only the wealthy classes who indulge in this crushing of 
the feet, the poorest country peasants do it too. In fact from 
what I saw in the girls' schools in Yunnan Fou, it is to the 
more educated classes that any effort to change the custom is 
due. It is towards the age of six or seven that the little feet are 
bound up so that what should be the best years of youth, those 
in which all active movement, all play, is an immeasurable 
pleasure, are the saddest for them. Not only can they not 
enjoy all the delights of their age but they suffer continu- 
ally. To run about the fields with their brothers is natur- 


ally impossible. When they are able to walk again with- 
out too much pain, they can only do so as cripples. What 
a contrast is there between the stiff movements of the 
women working laboriously in the fields in Yunnan and 
the free, supple, easy ones of those in Tonking. 

In Tonking the marketing is almost wholly done by 
women: it is their chief and favourite occupation for it gives 
them liberty and independence. They are glad to escape 
the supervision of the mother-in-law and join their friends. 
The long trudge with the heavy baskets is a pleasure to 
them for as they trot along in single file they can chat 
. freely and without restraint, and they have no foot-gear 
like the Chinese nor corsets like Europeans to hamper 
their movements. Then too they are past masters in the 
art of bargaining and love to exercise it in the sale of their 
produce. The Chinese woman is far inferior in this re- 
spect, and whereas a Tonkinese husband leaves all finan- 
cial concerns to his wife, in Yunnan she is not even consul- 
ted. Here the men predominate in the market and the 
women one sees act merely as beasts of burden. To them 
is denied the pleasurable excitement of bargaining. China- 
men living in Tonking recognize the superiority of the 
women there and often marry Tonkinese wives. 

The Yunnanese woman if inferior to the Tonkinese in 
organization and financial concerns is more industrious 
with her fingers and more thrifty. A Yunnanese, unless 
carrying a baby, is eternally sewing or washing. Every- 
garment of her family is mended till it is threadbare and 
when the stitches will no longer hold, the rags are turned 
to some other account. As in the matter of food, nothing 
is allowed to be wasted. Economy thrift and industry are 
inherent in men and women alike. The extravagant, gam- 
bling propensities and idleness of which Tonkinese women 
are often accused is practically unknown here. 

It is not rare in Yunnan to see four generations of a family 


employed at the same task. Children of four or five years 
old can accomplish such work for instance as the picking 
of tea or the shelling of cotton. It has been noticed that in 
districts where children at an early age are able to cover 
the cost of the rice which feeds them, there is much less 
infant mortality. 

Chinese children have no organized games with fixed 
rules like ours. Toys such as tops, shuttle-cocks and espe- 
cially those made of coloured paper such as lanterns and 
kites abound. Flying a kite is as popular a pastime with the 
old as with the young and one may often see men of middle 
age in the fields vying with each other in the height they can 
send them. They show the greatest keenness and eagerness 
over every movement of their coloured toy in the air. 

Children who mix with Europeans and join in their 
games such as tennis or billards become quickly expert. 

Yunnanese villages seem to be free on the whole from 
petty thefts. This is probably due to the severity of the 
punishments for robbery which were till recently out of 
all proportion to the damage done. Also householders take 
infinite care of their property trusting nobody and allowing 
nothing out of their sight. The loss of a few handfuls of 
straw or a bundle of fire-wood drives a Yunnanese quite 
beside himself. If it is impossible to discover the culprit 
either by his own investigation or with the help of the village 
authorities he indulges in what is called " reviling the street ". 
He stands at his door or perhaps on the roof of his house 
and curses with the utmost vehemence the man, woman 
or child who has robbed him. 

His whole vocabulary, every oath or invective in the 
Chinese language is summoned to his aid. The family, an- 
cestors and posterity of the culprit are alike condemned and 
consigned to the same fate. 

The first time I was a witness of such a scene, I thought 
the man standing on his roof screaming, and pouring forth 


such a torrent of words and at the same time gesticulating 
so violently was a mad-man. He certainly must have been 
mad for the moment, for it needed more than ordinary hu- 
man strength to maintain a tirade so vociferous. All his 
vocal chords seemed about to burst and every muscle was 
at its highest tension. His face was red, his eyes starting out 
of his head, his clothes in disorder. A crowd which grew and 
dispersed, and grew again watched him from a little distance. 
Occasionally two men would smile at each other as they 
nodded disdainfully in his direction but on the whole even 
the impassive, immovable China-man seemed impressed 
and looked nervous and uncomfortable. 

To me it was a terrifying sight. He must surely have 
lost all his money or perhaps his home, to have worked 
himself into this mad passion. I could hardly believe that 
the whole explanation was that a few square yards of maize 
from one of his lields had been cut down and carried off 
during the night. It is natural that a man whose whole life 
is engrossed in gaining or saving a cent will not submit to 
being robbed without a protest, but still. . . . 

I was told that occasionally women act in the same man- 
ner. The scene must then be even more distressful. To see 
these quiet little villages one would hardly believe such 
upheavals possible. The groups of women on their door- 
steps, the children playing in the courtyard, the low mur- 
mur of the men as they smoke and chat convey a so alto- 
gether different atmosphere. One seldom heard a raised 
voice or saw an angry gesture. 

As a matter of fact such outbursts are the exception, the 
atmosphere of calm and peace the rule. 


THE Copper Temple is considered the monument of great- 
est interest in the neighbourhood of Yunnan Fou. The first 
excursion of new arrivals generally takes them there. 

The Si-Chan temple is famed for its site, that of the 500 
genii for the originality of its plaster Buddhas, the Rock 
pagoda for its frescoed walls, but none can compare with 
the Copper Temple in beauty of construction and harmony 
of proportion. 

It is a work of art. Not only has discrimination and ar- 
tistic feeling been show r n in the choice of the site the natural 
beauties of which are in keeping with the building, but the 
architectural value is high and workmanship is of the best. 

I visited this temple 4 or 5 times while at Yunnan Fou, 
spending the afternoon under the trees beneath its walls, 
and I got to know it well. 

The first time my husband and I went there, it was with 
a party staying in the hotel. We decided to go on horse- 
back though several of the ladies had never ridden before. 
This led to a very late start as, being unused to their bor- 
rowed costumes, they all needed help to dress. Their put- 
ties had to be put on for them and when at last they were 
ready, it took time and skill to mount them on their ponies. 
There were sudden shrieks and screams for help and because 
one wretched pack-horse took a step forward, its rider was 
immediately persuaded that she had a too fresh or unsafe 
mount and demanded an exchange. Ho\vever the leaders 



of the party showed a firm front and, as soon as we all had 
hands on reins and feet in stirrups, a start was made. The 
men did their best to divide themselves up among the wo- 
men in case we wanted help, but as we were obliged to go 
in single file and some pack-horses preferred following 
certain others, this arrangement was somewhat difficult to 
carry out. 

We could naturally only go at a snail's pace on the stone- 
paved road which twisted and turned through the rice- 
fields so that even the least skilled among us managed 
to keep our seats and even to carry on a desultory conver- 
sation, though with eyes always fixed on the horses head. 
Once as we reached a canal bank one of the men thought- 
lessly put his pony to the trot. Consternation and cata- 
strophe! For the two ponies behind must needs follow and 
soon their fair riders were keeping their seats by clinging 
round their ponies necks! It was a terrifying moment for 
us all and the air was rent with screams. As soon as the 
foremost pony came to a stand however, the others did 
likewise and nobody was any the worse. 

One pack-horse, mounted by a young girl, suddenly, 
without warning, turned off the canal path down the bank 
into the water and began to drink. Mademoiselle tugged at 
the reins with such insistence that she nearly slipped over 
the animal's head. Finding that her efforts were of no 
avail she called out piteously for help. She was told to sit 
still and let the pony finish its drink which it was appar- 
ently determined to do. Realizing that no terrible accident 
was going to happen she took the advice and a moment 
later the pony lifted its head and quietly joined its fellows. 
In spite of many such-like vicissitudes we eventually arri- 
ved at the foot of the forest-covered hill on which the 
Copper Temple stands. The ponies were relieved of their 
saddles, tied up with any cords or straps at hand and left 
to graze. 


We had now to mount three flights of steps which led 
up in a straight line to the pagoda. There was another path 
much less steep up which it would have been possible to 
ride, but we did not know of it at the time and in any case 
it would have been a pity to miss the sight of this straight 
stone stairway, overhung by trees, which continued up and 
up as far as the eye could see. There were stone archways 
from time to time, all differing one from another and more 
or less artistic. In the alcoves, on either side of these roofed 
archways, were highly-coloured ferocious-looking plaster 
Buddhas which we examined with exaggerated interest 
while regaining our breath. The last three archways are 
known as the Doors of Heaven. At each one we thought 
we must have surely finished our ascent. The last opened 
on to a courtyard embellished by a number of statues, most 
of them Genii of Thunder with the beaks and feet of birds. 
Immediately opposite us was a little pavilion, a sort of 
entrance-porch to the temple itself. The nearer the shrine, 
the more careful became the workmanship and the richer 
the materials used. Here the paving- stones were whitish 
gray and highly glazed. The little alcoves which contained 
on one side, a big bronze gong and on the other, an iron flag 
had distinct artistic merit. The stone railing round the 
Copper pagoda was finely sculptured and the steps leading 
up to il were of marble. These steps were divided midway 
by a beautiful sculptured dragon cut from a single marble 
slab. On ascending them we found ourselves on the terrace 
of the pagoda. In front of the big door was a huge black 
stone incense burner of beautiful proportions and highly 
polished. The temple itself is wrought of Copper, black and 
gold, and all finely sculptured. From foundation to roof, 
everything is of copper, porch, altar, pillars, and walls. 

The innermost shrine is about twelve feet by eight feet 
quite small in comparison with the outer temples and 
sanctuaries surrounding it. It dates from the reign of the 


Emperor Ts'oung Cheng of the Ming Dynasty about the 
middle of the 17th Century. The general who designed 
and built it, intended to live there as a bonze when his 
career in the army ended. But as so often happens in China, 
the display of his wealth, necessitated by the construction 
of the temple, created him enemies. He was denounced to 
the Government who, fearing he would become too power- 
ful, had him beheaded. The reason given was that the temple 
was an imitation of one in Peking the forbidden city. 

The interior of the temple is small and dark just standing 
room for a single person. No light enters but by the double 
doors in front. The altar extends from one side to the other 
and it is impossible to see distinctly or touch the sacred 
objects or the medley of offerings of present and past gene- 
rations which are arranged behind it. By craning one's 
neck, one manages to get a glimpse of a tortoise and a ser- 
pent, supposed to have been modelled out of the liver and 
intestines of a prince, whose statue stands in the middle 
of the altar. 

As usual with these Chinese temples the interior was 
most disappointing; the promise held out by the exterior 
being quite unfulfilled. There was moreover for us Eu- 
ropeans no religious atmosphere whatever. 

We wandered round the courtyard again admiring its 
roof, its little marble staircases, its parapet over which 
small Chinese boys were idly leaning. Every view of it was 
beautiful. Two trees standing behind it, their gnarled and 
crooked branches showing their great age, served to enhance 
its beauty. They were covered with pink blossoms and the 
ground beneath was red with fallen petals. 

After lunch, spread out on a long table in one of the 
side temples we made our way on to the w r ooded hill-side 
and from there into the fields beyond. On the grassy 
slopes we found quantities of Edelweiss, the flowers being 
larger and with longer stalks than those in the Swiss Alps. 


Having gathered a few we began to descend the hill, re- 
turning by the fields instead of the way we had come. 

As we neared the spot where the ponies were tethered we 
heard a neighing and galloping. We hastened our steps and 
1 shall never forget the sight that met our eyes. At least 
eight of the ponies had got loose and were fighting like wild 
animals. They reared up on their hind legs and struck at 
each other with their fore feet. They bit at each other 
furiously and some had blood running down their necks. 
They were not neighing in the usual manner, it was more like 
the shrill squealing of pigs. Some of them had their legs 
entangled in cords which hampered their movements. All 
the mafous but one had disappeared. It was a most unnerv- 
ing spectacle the first few moments of this pandemonium. 
A fight between tigers or boars or other wild animals would 
have made far less impression on me. But I had never 
imagined these ponies capable of such viciousness or of 
such shrieks. I felt like shrieking myself to drown the 
noise. The men had rushed forward at once to the nearest 
fighting horses and tried to catch hold of their ropes but it 
was impossible to approach. They ran the risk of being 
either kicked or having the ponies fall on the top of them. 
They fetched sticks and tried to separate them but if they 
succeeded in driving one pony away, the others only pur- 
sued it and the fight began again 50 yards away. If one 
of the men did manage to seize a rope he was immediately 
dragged along the ground and in a moment obliged to let 
go again. All this time my own pony was still tied up 
but now seeing two fighting animals approaching him, I 
rushed to unloose him and take him to a place of safety. 
He had been lent me for the day and I could not let him 
be damaged. I had undone the rope and was leading him 
away up the fields when he suddenly gave a furious neigh, 
sprang backwards, wrenching the rope from me and there 
was my pony too in the midst of the m16e! I hid my face 


in my hands. I did not dare to look at what might happen. 
The rest of the party had now arrived and one poor lady 
was in the greatest distress at seeing her pet pony with 
blood on his neck and side in fierce fight. She ventured 
dangerously near calling out piteously Becon, Becon, 
Becon; on ordinary occasions he answered to his name 
and followed her like a dog but now he ignored her enti- 
rely. Her husband soon after brought her crying to 
where we women were standing at a distance in a helpless 

At last some of the ponies evidently grew tired of the fight 
and, moving away, began to munch grass as if nothing had 
happened. They were immediately caught and led to a safe 
distance. Finally all were secured but we were still so agi- 
tated that we hardly dared approach them and all declared 
we would rather walk home. However the men would not 
hear of our doing any such thing and we were commanded 
to hunt out our saddles and bridles for these too were all 
in confusion. Needless to say no one recognized their own. 
Some could hardly distinguish which pony they had ridden. 
If the start out had been difficult it may be imagined what 
the preparations for the return were like. Our one and 
only mafou was quite unable to saddle and bridle all those 
ponies and in any case he was too terrified to do anything 
right. We were all trembling. Even the men had their ner- 
ves on edge, and many were bruised and scratched, but they 
set to work to tighten girths and adjust stirrups, consoling 
and scolding the women in turn. Finally we were all 
mounted and a move was made towards home. 

The return journey was a subdued one. Once safely at 
the hotel, I think we all came to the conclusion that large 
parties on horse-back were a mistake, and that the beauties 
of Nature as well as the interesting features of ancient 
Chinese temples could be better appreciated with one or 
two companions only. Our succeeding visits to the Copper 



Temple were peaceful and without incident and though a 
little later, we looked back on our first excursion there with 
much amusement, we did not try the experiment of a 
large party again. 


YUNNAN Fou is situated on a plateau surrounded by hills. 
It is difficult to realize that you are at a height of 6000 feet 
as no glimpse is obtainable into valley or plain below you. 
Excursions too are always planned with the idea of reach- 
ing the bordering heights. The Chinese have built their 
temples in the prettiest corners of the hills and have left 
the trees standing for a certain distance round them, the 
result being that wherever one finds a temple, one also finds 
a sweet smelling pine forest or a shady mossy wood where 
one may rest. 

It is a constant custom to set the wooded mountain 
slopes on fire, for the threefold purpose of freeing pasture 
for buffaloes or planting a little maize or simply for the 
sake of the charcoal. 

The neighbourhood of these temples is ideal for picnics; 
not only can you lie full length on the grass under the trees 
when lunch has been disposed of, but if it rains you can 
shelter within the pagoda itself and have your meal 
there, the bonze on guard being always ready to provide 
you with water and wood if you wish to boil eggs or 
make tea. 

The Si-Chan is the most famous temple near Yunnan Fou 
as regards its position. It is built high up on a precipitous 
mountain side overhanging the beautiful Yunnan lake. 
This mountain lake is in itself one of the great sights of the 



province. It is rather a long and tiring excursion and un- 
fortunately during the first fortnight while my husband 
was still with me, I was not feeling well enough for the 
rather arduous climb. The magnificent climate however 
was so invigorating, that before a month was up I was 
able to join a party from the hotel. 

We started at 8 o'clock one morning M r and M me L., their 
son Raymond, M r D. and myself. M r and M me L. went in 
chairs with four coolie-bearers each, the rest on horse- 
back. I took also my own chair and coolies in case of 
being tired and into this w r e heaped coats rugs cameras, &c. 
Another coolie carried our lunch, packed in two big bas- 
kets slung over his shoulders, while a boy from the hotel 
and two mafous were taken to look after our not too docile 

There are two kinds of native ponies for hire. The first 
is a thin small knock-kneed animal like the poorest sort 
of pack-horse, which looks as if its back would break when 
you mounted it. In spite of its sorry appearance however, 
it will carry you to your destination and back in safety 
without your needing to touch the bridle, as long as it can 
just follow another pony nose to tail or its mafou. It can- 
not trot or gallop and, if deprived of its mafou, would pro- 
bably lose all motive power, lie down and die. Such a 
mount has its advantages for people who have never been 
accustomed to riding and who prefer almost any means of 
locomotion to a chair. 

The other kind of native pony is larger and stronger, 
holding its head up, is lively, capable of galloping and 
trotting but so obstinate that unless you immediately 
on mounting show your determination to be master, you 
may have a most disagreeable ride. For these ponies too, 
wish to follow their mafous or prance along in single file. 
They enjoy a fight and, given an opportunity, will kick or 
bite their neighbour or try to gallop after some quiet harm- 


less horse tethered in a field, or peaceably munching grass 
by the road-side. 

On the present occasion, no sooner were chairs, coolies, 
horses, and mafous, well underway than the inevitable fight 
for mastery began. We were now off the cobbled pavement 
and on one of the dike paths which wind in and out all 
over the plain of Yunnan Fou. These paths are five or six 
feet above the rice fields and are shaded with pines which 
make riding pleasant. The canal path on which we found 
ourselves would just allow two horses to go abreast, so I 
pulled up mine and waited for M r D. to come alongside. 
His pony however came to a stand-still as soon as mine 
did and neither persuasion nor whip had any effect. It 
twisted and turned now nearly throwing its rider into the 
canal now into the rice-field, then it plunged into the hind 
legs of my pony which began kicking and nearly succeeded 
in throwing me. Finally I pulled my pony behind that of 
M r D. and when a fresh start was made, managed with my 
rather less obstinate animal to get alongside his. Once in 
the position you w r ish it is easy to keep there. During 
these performances the mafou always tries to interfere and 
makes voluble explanations, but he is worse than useless 
as he never understands what you want, and if he did, his 
sympathies would be with the ponies rather than their 
riders. You therefore order him out of the way behind you, 
with the result that when really you do need him, he is not 
to be found. For instance, if you chance to meet a number 
of pack-horses on the narrow path, as is often the case, 
you need him to drive them into the rice fields or your 
fiery steed will certainly try to kick each one as it passes. 

As we approached the lake, the dike which we were 
following grew to a canal. Every now and then we over- 
took sampans which were being towed along. Most of them 
carried a number of children who squalled among the 
motley baggage, while the adults with ropes round their 


waists were struggling to drag the boat through the shallow 
water and mud. This shallow water was being still further 
diminished by the pumping machines which were in action 
on either side of the canal to irrigate the rice fields. 
These curious contrivances, somewhat resembling a ladder- 
twelve or fifteen feet long, act like a tread mill dragging the 
water upwards slowly but surely. It is worked by one or 
two natives who alternately push and pull two stick-like 
handles. This instrument is never seen in Annam. There, 
the natives use a simple scoop or bucket supported by ropes 
from a tripod. From the dikes to the rice fields the distance 
would have been too great for this method here. 

These pumping machines are working from early morn- 
ing till dusk and one night we even saw one or two still 
going by the light of the moon. As a rule, work ceases at 
sunset, and these clumsy wooden ladder-like instruments 
are lifted up, and carried home on the two mens' shoulders. 

After skirting miles of ricefields and many villages we 
had our first glimpse of a blue stretch of water. A mountain 
lake is more fascinating than one at sea level and we 
pushed forwards eagerly towards the hamlet which was to 
be our place of embarkation. Chairs and horses stopped 
at a humble little pagoda. The pagodas take the place of 
hotels in Chinese villages. They are always the best buil- 
dings in the villages and provide the most comfortable 
resting place for travellers. The bonze in charge is always 
ready to open a side room for you, where you may fix up 
an improvised bed, and so take a siesta in the midst of 
Buddhas and incense burners. He will also provide you 
with hot water or anything else at his disposal. We did 
no more than glance round the courtyard of this parti- 
cular pagoda, for our day's pilgrimage had hardly begun. 
But we did just allow ourselves time to take a few sprigs 
of a lovely purple flower growing on a tree there. The 
blossoms were rather like a horse chestnut in shape and 


were in their prime: they made a magnificent show of co- 
lour against the sombre-looking pagoda. 

Finding it was another five minutes or so to the spot 
where our boat was awaiting us, I decided to mount my 
pony again and proceeded to lead him across a one plank 
bridge. In the middle I felt a sudden tug at the reins 
of which I fortunately let go. The awkward animal had 
missed its footing and fallen into the water. The pond was 
not deep and he dragged himself out quickly but he was 
covered with a thick coating of mud and my saddle also 
which was worse. I left him to the mercies of the mafou 
hoping to find him clean again on my return and continued 
my way on foot lucky to have escaped with a splashing, 
for had I held on to the reins, I should have hardly escaped 
being pulled into the pond too. 

We reached the boat, which was anchored a few yards 
from the shore, by means of a sampan. There were offers 
in plenty to carry us across the narrow strip of water and 
these being declined, at least six or seven sampans simul- 
taneously demanded to transport us. We quickly stepped 
into one, to avoid quarrels and recriminations and were 
pushed alongside our boat. 

There was plenty of animation at this corner of the lake. 
The sampans trading up and down the canal make a stop 
there and ferry boats ply between here and the further 
side carrying the people and their wares to market. One 
big ferry-boat was just ready to start. It seemed quite full 
up with men and women who were squatting among their 
big baskets, many of the women with children in their 
arms. As each fresh arrival with his load mounted the 
plank to embark, one wondered where he was to find 
standing room much less a place for his baskets; but after 
a few groans and expostulations, he always managed to 
squat down somewhere and in his turn to disappear among 
the mass of baskets and big round hats. 


So long as there was hope of more passengers the ferry-man 
would refuse to make a start, for time and punctuality had 
no value for him when it was a question of a few cents. 
I mentioned economy as being the motto and watchword 
of the Chinese but economy of time must be excepted. 

It is a well known fact that coolies, even after a long days' 
work, will go miles out of their way for the sake of getting 
a meal one cent cheaper. 

The boat on which we embarked was one lent us by the 
French Consulate. It was painted white and had a little 
cabin with a table and four berths. We seated ourselves 
on deck and resolved to have lunch and siesta on board 
before beginning our climb. It was supposed to be a cross- 
ing of nearly three hours, so that by having our meal dur- 
ing that time instead of waiting to reach the pagoda, we 
should be less rushed later and also give ourselves an oc- 
cupation. Not that we were dull a minute. Before we were 
a hundred yards from the shore, M r D. in climbing on to 
the upper deck, dropped his leather sheathed knife out of 
his belt into the water. He called out to the rowers but 
they merely looked blank, so he stepped along the out- 
side edge of the boat balancing himself by a little wooden 
rail which ran along the deck. Suddenly this rail broke 
and he fell into the water. Fortunately it was not deep and he 
was able not only to recover his sheath which was floating 
but also the knife which had fallen out and had sunk. He 
clambered into the boat again and a discussion started as 
to how he should dry his clothes. M r L. offered his trou- 
sers if we w r ould excuse his sitting, in his pants, but after 
many other suggestions, it was decided that he should take 
off his wet things and put on M me L.'s travelling coat, which 
she had brought with her in case of cold. He soon reap- 
peared in our midst therefore in an elegantly-cut grey 
coat which gave him a waist and the figure of a woman. 
But his bare feet in plaited sandals and half a dozen safety- 


pins modestly closing up the gaps between the buttons down 
the front rather spoilt the general effect. 

And he was not single in his misfortune, for not long after 
Raymond somehow managed to get drenched and had to 
retire for an hour or so while his clothes dried. 

Our boat followed a channel between shoals and masses 
of bushes and weeds which showed above the surface, for 
we were crossing the lake right at the Southern end, where 
it was more like a series of ponds than an even sheet 
of water. Not that it was the less pretty or picturesque for 
that. The water was covered with white flowers like flakes 
of snow, the blossoms just floating on the surface with no 
stalks or leaves showing. The hills all round the lake were 
bare and uninhabited but here and there one saw a pagoda 
perched on a rock or in a dip surrounded by trees. The 
red paths winding up to them, as well as those leading 
down into these hollows looked most enticing and made 
us long to explore them. There were villages dotted all 
round the lake, towards one of which we were making our 
way at the foot of the Si-Chan. 

Halfway across the lake we began to distinguish the group 
of pagodas we were about to visit. They were built one 
above the other on the steep hill side and the last and 
highest, to the right of the others, was cut in the rock itself 
and overlooked a sheer precipice of some thousand feet. 

Though we could not see the path nor the stone steps 
leading up to them because of the trees, we realized by 
their position the steep climb awaiting us. And it was a 
hot day. 

At 11. M r D. and Raymond being once more clothed 
and dry, we sat down to lunch in the little cabin. Before 
we had finished we had reached the opposite bank, but we 
allowed ourselves an hour's siesta and only went ashore 
at 2 P.M. 

A few hundred yards along the narrow, muddy, slippery 





dikes between the rice fields and we found ourselves at 
the door of the village. 

These entrance doors to a village are sometimes very 
picturesque and often curiously ornamented with stone 
dragons or other animals. Those of us with cameras 
"snapped" this one, Raymond making us wait in the hot 
sun while he climbed on the top or placed himself in ex- 
traordinary positions with the object of making our sou- 
venirs more realistic. 

As soon as we were out of the village we came upon the 
first flight of steps. Broad and winding, in the midst of the 
high grass and over-shadowed by pines, they formed a pretty 
picture. But we were not allowed to dally for meditation 
thereon, for M r D. was pushing on ahead and urging us 
forward, reminding us how many steps there were (1000 1 
think) and that our time was limited. This flight was followed 
by a little winding path, then more steps, another path, 
then a door, then more stairs, and here we were at a small 
pagoda or shrine. Before we had climbed twenty minutes 
we had all found it necessary to divest ourselves of some 
part of our clothing and had given it to the coolie, who was 
already burdened with a number of thick coats and scarves 
in case of our feeling chilly at our journey's end. Conversa- 
tion turned on the luxury of douches and dry clothes, on 
the delights of ice and fans, in fact we might again have 
been in the plains of Tonking. 

Reaching a small pagoda about a quarter of the way up, 
where there was an opening in the trees and a view of the 
lake, we were told we might have ten minutes rest. I seated 
myself on the stone 'parapet of the verandah and looked 
into the valley. The blue water of the lake was shimmer- 
ing below us and the fishing sampans were mere specks 
on the great expanse. Just below us a number of boats 
were slowly advancing in line probably drawing along a 
huge fishing net. Every boat was possessed of a bundle of 


bamboo sticks, the tapping together of which we could 
distinctly hear, a proceeding no doubt intended to frighten 
the fish into the net. We could see the channel we had 
followed in crossing the lake and the little village where we 
had embarked. 

Thetrees around us prevented us from seeing Yunnan Fou 
and the distant hills; it was necessary to climb still higher 
if we were to get a really extensive view. 

But once seated it was an effort to make a fresh move 
and it was only when every one else had disappeared round 
the next turning, that I found the energy to jump from my 
perch. I had nearly caught them up when I heard a smash 
of glass and groans of despair. I guessed instinctively what 
had happened, dashed up the last steps two at a time and 
immediately realized my worst fears! The thermos contain- 
ing our precious tea was broken and all had disappeared 
but a tiny trickle which M r D. was endeavouring to catch 
in a cup. When the flask refused to yield another drop, five 
pairs of anxious eyes gazed at the small cup. One of us, I for- 
get who, was afraid of the bits of broken glass so it had only 
to be shared among four. Somehow it managed to go twice 
round and expressing ourselves greatly refreshed by these 
few drops, we continued our way with renewed strength. 

We explored each passing shrine probably erected to 
encourage Si-Chan pilgrims but nothing in them particular- 
ly attracted our notice. There were always two or more 
plaster Buddhas with fiercely staring eyes, huge bellies, and 
outstretched arms, a few half burnt tapers in an incense 
burner, and two or three round wicker stools left carelessly 
here and there. 

Finally we came to the principal Si-Chan pagoda which 
was practically the end of our climb. It was quite a big build- 
ing with a broad terrace in front supported by a high solid 
stone wall. From here we had a splendid and extensive 
view. The light was admirable and even the details of the 


villages and hills beyond the lake could be clearly distin- 
guished. No cloud, no haze to blurr our vision, it was a 
day, and of such there are many in Yunnan Fou, when all 
the details of nature were distinct in the soft yet strong clear 
light. The dryness of the climate accounts for this clear atmo- 
sphere. The lake extended to the right as far as we could 
see, encircling the foot of the range of hills on which we 
stood. It is never very broad but is very long. 

The roofs of Yunnan Fou were distinctly visible and the 
Chinese towers and the Governor's residence stood out 
above the rest. We tried to localize the position of different 
pagodas we had visited in the neighbourhood of Yunnan 
Fou, but we could never agree as to which was which even 
with the help of field glasses and guide books, and we had 
no resident of the country to whom to appeal. It was im- 
possible to take a Chinese as arbitrator as he would not 
have understood our pronunciation of the Chinese names. 
When the provisionsbasket had twice nearly fallen over 
the parapet, w r e gave up looking at the view and turned our 
attention to the pagoda. It was evidently a favorite resort 
of the richer Chinese. A number were chatting and smok- 
ing in one corner. At another table four or five were play- 
ing cards. The onlookers seemed as interested as the players 
themselves. Naturally I could not grasp in so short a time 
how r their game was played, but I could see that they 
arranged their cards (little narrow slips of horn printed 
with red or black characters) according to suits and that 
they held about ten or twelve at the beginning of the deal. 
They were playing for quite high stakes evidently as silver 
pieces continually passed from hand to hand. Only sapeks 
are seen among the gamblers in the streets or on country 
paths as they throw their dice. The noise and excitement 
which accompanies such street gambling were absent here. 
The only exclamations came from the on-lookers, the 
players themselves were silent. 


During our inspection of the premises we came upon 
real bed-rooms containing beds these had no mattresses 
but plenty of rugs and blankets: here and there a man was 
lying fast asleep. 

What amused us very much at this pagoda were the antics 
of a monkey chained to the parapet. It was a big, strong 
animal whose fury one would not like to arouse if it had 
been at liberty. As it was not free to revenge itself for 
insults, the biscuits which we slowly dealt out to it were 
accompanied by a good deal of teasing. Our "boy" had 
unpacked our provision basket and suggested we should 
here partake of our bread, ham, and other refresments that 
we had brought with us, but we preferred to wait till the 
end of our journey, for the last and most wonderful part 
of our excursion was still in store. We therefore simply 
drank the little bow r ls of Chinese tea which the bonze had 
had served to us, (very unpalatable because there was no 
sugar and naturally no milk and it reminded us of the de- 
licious beverage we had lost in the valley) and proceeded 
on our way. From here the path was cut out of rock, over- 
hanging a sheer precipice. We could only walk very slowly 
for sometimes it even became a tunnel with little windows, 
and was so narrow, that one had to squeeze oneself through 
or bend low to pass. Then again it would open out into a 
sort of verandah with a narrow edge of rock left for a 
parapet. We had been told that some people felt dazed and 
unsteady during these last hundred yards or so but none 
of us experienced any feeling of this sort, for everywhere 
there was some sort of jagged rock which acted as a barrier 
and gave a feeling of security. At the end of this path we 
came to the last little pagoda, built on a small round open 
space cut out from under an overhanging rock. A huge 
highly-coloured Buddha with two other idols occupied the 
interior and if they were the deities guarding all within 
their view, their protection extended over a large part of 


the province. On the outer rock above, overhanging the 
precipice, was a niche and in it was enshrined another 
Buddha, but it was only by leaning with our backs against 
the parapet and looking straight up-wards that we could 
see it, and we should never have discovered it if the hotel 
boy had not pointed it out to us as one of the sights. How 
it had been possible to place it in such a position was 
a wonder, though we well knew how willingly Chinese 
workmen would risk their lives even at such a task for a 
few pieces of silver. 

Here, leaning against the broad parapet (it was agreed 
that no one should sit on it as it made the rest of us un- 
happy and nervy) and sitting on the step of the shrine, we 
eat boiled eggs bread and peaches. Empty bottles and tins 
for which we had no further use, together with a salad bowl 
which the boy had broken, were then thrown over the 
precipice into the depth below. Never had I been at such 
a height and it made me hold my breath as the objects 
went hurtling down through the seemingly never-ending 

We had all put on coats before sitting down, for we con- 
gratulated ourselves on the thought that we should here 
be fanned by the wind coming from the snow-covered 
peaks of Tibet. We hoped we might have seen them but 
had to be content with the sight of the road leading to 
Burma. It was distinctly visible all the way up the mountain 
side opposite. The fatigue and heat from which we had 
suffered in our ascent were already forgotten. I am ashamed 
to relate that we all cut our names in some corner of this 
wonderful rock. M r D. even made a drawing of the French 
flag thus inciting me to draw the British one on a still large 
scale. After this vandalic proceeding we started on our 
downward journey. We reached the boat with aching 
knees and very thirsty, where, reclining in the little cabin, 
a glass of Saint Galmier was doled out to each. It was the 


last bottle and was divided with the greatest exactitude by 
M r D. For those who desired it, he added a few drops of 
red wine pouring it so dexterously that it floated on the 
top. It is curious that colour should add to the pleasure of 
taste but for me it certainly does. 

When rested, we again perched ourselves on the small 
deck of the boat to enjoy to the full the perfect evening. As 
the sun descended lower and lower, the lake and hills 
changed colour from moment to moment. From blue they 
turned to purple, from purple to a rich red and at a certain 
moment there was a wonderful contrast between the fore- 
most slopes, lighted up by the last rays of sun, where every 
detail was still visible and the distant hills in shade which 
stood black against the glorious colours of the sky. It was 
a sunset worthy of the day; as long as any light lasted the 
purity of the atmosphere was undiminished. 

Once ashore the three of us who were on horse-back 
started off at a quick trot; we did not wish to be caught 
on the narrow canal path in complete darkness. Unfor- 
tunately there was no moon. We had to slow down before 
our arrival in the town as our ponies stumbled at every 
step. But as soon as we reached the dimly lighted streets 
we trotted again, scattering pedestrians right and left and 
arrived at the hotel with such a clatter that all our friends 
who were quietly dining rushed to the door to meet us. So 
triumphant was our bearing that they might well have 
assumed that the Si-Chan had never been climbed before. 


IN visiting the different temples of Yunnan Fou and the 
neighbourhood, I had often noticed that one or more of the 
ante-rooms had been set aside for teaching purposes. Small 
tables or desks had displaced the deities and other objects 
of cult and classes for children were being held. 

It is curious to see this enthousiasm for a more modern 
education gripping the people, particularly when it leads 
to such use being made of ancient places of worship, which 
stand for all the most sacred traditions of the race. And 
yet throughout China such changes are taking place. Learn- 
ing and scholarship have, as is well known, been most 
highly prized by the Chinese from earliest times. Success 
in examinations has always been esteemed above wealth 
or power, not only by scholars but by the community at 
large. Many cases are known where men have continued 
to enter for examinations till the age of 70 or 80. To study 
is the highest ambition of a great proportion of the popu- 

It is not surprising therefore that since the Revolution 
the Chinese Government and Municipal authorities should 
have tried to modernize their schools and enable this 
desire for knowledge, formerly only enjoyed by the richer 
classes, to be within the limits of all. 

Yet in the pagodas I only saw classes for boys. Were 
they doing nothing for girls? Co-education as might be 



supposed has never been tried in China. I was told that 
many girls' schools had been started in Yunnan Fou but 
though I very much wanted to visit one of them I did not find 
it so very easy. None of the European residents from whom 
I sought information seemed to know anything of them. 

One day I was taken to call on a Chinese lady, M me Chang, 
by the British Consul's wife and here, thought I, was my 
opportunity. M me Chang had been educated in America 
where she had taken a degree and when we were shown 
into her drawing room the most conspicuous objects on 
the walls were framed portraits of herself and husband in 
University cap and gown, together with various certifi- 
cates. She spoke English like an English-woman and I 
rejoiced in the idea that she might perhaps be my guide. 
Being herself a teacher in a school of mechanics, I thought 
she would be interested in the education question and 
might even be pleased to have the opportunity to show off 
one of her country's schools. 

While sipping our Chinese tea which had been brought 
in by a young girl in small bowls with the saucer placed 
on the top, (you are supposed not to remove the saucer, 
but tip it up just enough to give your lips room on the 
edge of the cup to enable you to drink), I ventured to turn 
the conversation on to the subject of schools and make 
my request. 

I was rather taken aback when M me Chang, though a 
member of this extremely polite if not sincere Eastern 
race, immediately cut me short by saying that the schools 
of Yunnan Fou did not interest her at all and that she did 
not approve of the lines on which they were run. What was 
wrong with them? She gave many reasons but her real 
grievance against them was that nearly all the teachers 
had been educated in Japan. She maintained that the stu- 
dents, men and women, who had been educated in Japan 
returned with a most superficial knowledge and that 








whereas she and her husband had studied so many years 
in America for certain diplomas, those considered of equal 
value could be obtained in so many months in Japan. She 
also spoke bitterly of the students who brought back with 
them an unlimited admiration for things Japanese and 
spread foreign ideas broadcast. Japanese methods were 
not suitable, she insisted, for the Chinese and this cult of 
all appertaining to Japan was blinding the country to the 
fact that these neighbours were their greatest enemies. 

Her emphatic views on the subject lasted till we got up 
to go. I wondered what she thought of General Tsai who 
had received his military training in Japan and who was 
imparting such training to his troops. 

As we took leave she did for a minute remember the 
origin of this heated tirade and said that if I still desired 
to visit a school, I had better ask the British or French 
Consul to apply to the Minister of Education for a permit. 
As I did not want to trouble anyone further for so small a 
matter, I gave up all idea of realizing my wish and was 
therefore all the more pleased when M r Cordier, himself 
the head of a French school in Yunnan Fou, offered to 
take me to see what he called the Chinese " Ecole Normale ". 
It was the principal girls' school in the town and the trai- 
ning centre for future teachers. 

He had never visited it himself but one of his Chinese 
aquaintances being a relative of the Principal, obtained 
permission without the need of applying to the Board of 

Our young Chinese guide spoke French, while M r Cordier 
spoke French, English, and Chinese, so that language pre- 
sented no difficulties. The school was in the centre of the 
town. To the casual passerby, it did not differ from other 
houses and I was rather disappointed to find no distinguish- 
ing marks when coolies set down our chairs at the entrance. 
We went up some steps, passed between two rooms like 


offices with glass windows and doors through which Chinese 
secretaries or doorkeepers (it is annoying to be so unfamiliar 
with a people as not to be able to recognize from their 
clothes and manner the strata of society to which they 
belong) stared at us curiously. Crossing a courtyard we 
were taken into a small room almost filled by a long 
narrow table. We all three sat down on the same side of 
it and a minute later a big, fat-faced, heavily-built richly- 
dressed Chinese appeared. He bowed to us, we bowed to 
him and he sat down opposite us. 

Then it was a man and not a woman at the head of this 
big girls' school? And was this the type of the Chinese 
scholar? I was astonished having expected a pale, thin, 
round shouldered individual, emaciated by overstudy and 
care-worn by the responsibilities of his position. Instead 
of being sombrely and poorly clad, he was dressed in a 
blue silk tunic with circle designs and a rich black satin 
jacket. His slow pompous manner, his swollen heavy 
eyelids, almost hiding his eyes, denoted the man fond of 
good living rather than one seeking to disentangle the 
philosophical problems of this life. 

Bowls of tea had immediately been placed in front of 
us on our arrival and I was just going to drink to fill up 
a gap in the conversation when I thought I had better first 
ask M r Cordier if I might do so with propriety. He replied 
to my whisper that it was not yet the moment so I leant 
back again on my hard Chinese chair. I did not want to 
offend our imposing host by a breach of etiquette. 

He did not offer a single remark and answered all our 
questions in monosyllables. How many girls were there? 
A thousand. M r Cordier whispered to me that all Chinese 
figures must be divided by two. What ages were they? 
From 8 to 18. Were they all paying pupils? Yes. Then they 
were of the richer classes? No, they were of all stratas 
of society. 


No remarks or opinions or interesting facts could be 
dragged from this fat, silent, impassive, expressionless per- 
sonage. 1 learnt later that though in charge of the school 
he was not a teacher. He organized and directed but took 
no classes. His attitude of indifference was thus partly ex- 
plained. The position was probably a sinecure which he 
had obtained during the changes in the Government at the 
time of the Revolution. No information being forthcoming, 
we made a move at the first possible moment for our tour 
round the class rooms. It was evident we must glean what 
we could from our own observation. 

The class rooms did not differ very much from those in 
the West. They were big, airy, white-washed rooms, with 
windows open, and a small raised platform at one end 
with a large black-board for the teacher. There were 
about 50 girls in each class all sitting at small desks. When 
we entered they all stood up, bow r ed ceremoniously and 
sat down again. While we were there the Professor 
gained little of their attention. He was giving a lesson in 
drawing and combining with it one on physiology. He 
wore huge broad-brimmed spectacles, which gave him a 
severe expression, but his voice was quiet and slow and he 
was evidently not so terrible as he looked. He was drawing 
a man's face on the black board when we came in. Instead 
of making one oval stroke for the outlines of the cheeks 
as we should do in a rough drawing, he made two, thus 
showing the high cheek bones of the Chinese instead of 
curved eyebrows he made straight oblique ones. With a 
few strokes he evolved an unmistakable oriental. He dressed 
his figure in the hat and robe of a mandarin of bygone 
days. While drawing the head he dilated on the brain and 
its connection with the eyes, ears, &c., so that it was 
rather more than a simple drawing lesson. The children 
copied the figure on their books, most exactly and dexter- 
ously for, using brush and Chinese ink, they could not 


correct a stroke when once made as could the Professor 
who was drawing in chalk. They were not taught to hold 
their brush European fashion. They grasped it with all 
four fingers the thumb upwards and held it straight instead 
of slanting and, what would be an insuperable difficulty to 
us, they had no support for their wrists. I turned back 
some of the leaves of their books and looked at former 
drawings. They were very much after the style of ours but 
instead of the well remembered swan, cat, and horse, there 
was a buffalo, a lizard, a round-backed pig, a Chinese sol- 
dier and naturally the Chinese Republican flag. 

When the figure on the black-board had been finished, the 
teacher, calling out the name of some girl, asked questions. 
The child stood up, blushing (till that moment I had never 
known that an oriental could blush) but never seemed to 
answer correctly in spite of the whispers of her companions 
on every side. The scene reminded me of my own school 
days when I used so to strain my ears for any help which 
might possibly emanate from my friends, that I quite forgot 
to depend on myself for the answer. Other pupils were 
called on, but, probably abashed by our presence, they 
were in every instance sarcastically told to sit down again 
and the question was passed on. 

All the girls were dressed in the same fashion though 
shades and materials differed. Blue was the almost uni- 
versal colour. They wore narrow trousers coming down 
to just above the ankles which were in all cases bound 
round with white bands like putties. Their shoes were of 
all colours and many were richly embroidered. Whereas 
we take a pride in the ornamentation of collar, cuffs, &c., 
appendages which seem most to strike the eye, the Chinese 
woman puts her best stitchery into her footgear. Even in 
this school where there were comparatively few deformed 
feet (there ought to have been none considering the age 
of the children and that the law prohibiting the custom 


had been passed several years before), pretty shoes were 
much in evidence. The little wide jackets, which hung 
down in straight lines to just below the waist, were made 
with narrow sleeves and little up standing collars like those 
of a military uniform. 

Their mode of hair-dressing interested me most of all. 
It was the elaborate neatness of their coiffures that gave 
them all such a clean and tidy appearance. Among all 
those girls there was not one who had a hair out of place. 
In all cases it was plastered down as with a wet brush and 
plaited into a pigtail or two pigtails behind. These plaits 
were tied with majenta coloured wool, both quite close to 
the head and at the ends. Sometimes a strand of this wool 
might be plaited into the pigtail. 

Yet in spite of the uniformity of these plaits, there were 
a hundred ways of arranging the hair in front and few 
were alike. Sometimes it was pulled back straight from 
the forehead equally all over the head with no parting, 
sometimes it was parted down the middle sometimes down 
the side. All partings were as straight as possible with the 
hair brushed absolutely smoothly away from them. Several 
had a piece of hair taken from one side above the ear and 
brushed smoothly across the top of the forehead to above 
the other ear. This was probably in imitation of the head- 
band which so many girls and women wear in the streets 
but which were quite absent from the school. Some girls 
had fringes which were so straight and even, that they 
resembled wigs. Sometimes, two partings formed a V 
starting from the crown and coming to a point at the temp- 
les, sometimes there were even more than tw r o partings 
and each piece of hair, thus taken up, was brushed in a 
different direction. It would have been impossible to re- 
construct such elaborate and complicated designs every 
day and, after examining these coiffures, one could readily 
understand the use of the porcelain pillow and other devices. 


It is necessary that one hair-dressing should be made to 
last several days. 

In another class the children were having a writing lesson 
and beautiful characters were being inscribed one under 
the other all down the copy book. We only saw one woman 
teacher in all the classes we visited. She was evidently 
in charge of the youngest children. Some were quite tiny 
mites but they looked as serious as the elder children. 
They were having an arithmetic lesson I think, as we saw 
European figures among the Chinese characters on the 
board. The young Chinese teacher had probably been 
educated in Japan, as her hair was puffed out in front and 
arranged in soft rolls on the top of the head, instead of in 
the tight chignon at the back of the neck in the ordinary 
Chinese fashion. She was also wearing a black satin skirt 
instead of tunic and trousers. 

The last room we visited was evidently the class-room 
of the eldest girls, those being trained as teachers. Here the 
pigtail was replaced by a tight chignon. The lecture was 
listened to with the greatest attention and our intrusion 
hardly attracted notice. Most girls were taking notes, 
not dictated notes, but independent ones of facts they 
wished to remember. The small complicated but very 
neat characters, taken down quickly in ink, were in strik- 
ing contrast to the rough, untidy pencil notes, which the 
average English girl of the same age jots down during a 

After this we went to see a gymnastic class which was 
being held in a cement-covered courtyard. About 40 girls 
were drilling under an instructor. It was really quite 
amusing to watch them but I do not know from what, 
country they had borrowed their system of drill. They 
marched in couples keeping time by singing in monotonous 
tones and formed their many evolutions according to the 
changes of tune. Occasionally the teacher gave a command 


and counted one, two, three, four but the interruption 
evidently confused them, and if not left to themselves, they 
were apt to go wrong. It was a drill they knew by heart. 
They were not taught to hold themselves erect and many of 
them marched with rounded shoulders or heads down. 
As a physical exercise it could hardly have been very 
useful. The girls with crippled feet, even in this slow march, 
had trouble in keeping up with their companions and ne- 
cessarily held themselves still less well. 

On our return from this display I noticed a room where 
a number of girls were peeping out through latticed win- 
dows. In answer to my questioning glance, the Principal in- 
formed us that they were girls who had been naughty and 
had been locked in there as a punishment. I was truly 
amazed that these neat, studious, serious-looking children 
were capable of either mischief or inattention. I had 
taken it for granted that Eastern keenness after knowledge 
and the respect for scholarship would be enough to sub- 
due high spirits, without recourse to measures of discipline 
but from what I now gathered, their behaviour did not 
differ so very materially from that of European children. 
They often laughed and talked and squabbled in class and 
tricks were even played on their teachers. I felt quite 
relieved ! 

Our leave-taking lasted several minutes. The compli- 
ments which M r Cordier heaped on the Principal, punctu- 
ated here and there by ceremonious bows, (I tried to join 
in the bows but invariably came in a little late as I did not 
understand what was being said) had all to be reciprocated. 
This great man had no intention of allowing himself to be 
outdone in politeness of language. All the Chinese adjec- 
tives denoting admiration and gratitude must have been 
exhausted when we at last descended the steps and entered 
our chairs. 

It had been an interesting morning. What had surprised 


me most was to see men instead of women teachers, but 
I was reminded that the modern educational movement 
only started after the Revolution and there had naturally 
been no time to train Chinese women. In a few years they 
will probably have supplanted the men in the schools 
for girls. 

Of course the number of boys schools in Yunnan Fou 
is far greater than that for girls but what country even 
in Europe has ever done as much for its women as its men? 
As equality cannot be expected for some time to come, the 
Yunnanese have a right to be justly proud of their "Ecole 



No true idea of Yunnan Fou would be given without 
mention of the social life of the European Colony. Whether 
his stay is short or long a visitor leaves there feeling almost 
overwhelmed by the hospitality shown him. 

The first we heard of Yunnan Fou after our arrival in 
Tonking was in connection with the kindness and cordial- 
ity of the French Consul and his wife. Their name was 
already at that time familiar to us. As soon as we had 
settled down at our hotel in Yunnan Fou my husband paid 
an early call, and thereafter we were welcome at the French 
Consulate any afternoon we liked to go. M. and M me Wilden 
kept open house and tennis and bridge were in full swing 
from the middle of the afternoon till dinner time. The 
French, British, and Italian Consuls live in Chinese houses 
inside the town. No house in Yunnan Fou has a real gar- 
den, at least not the kind that the French or English would 
regard as such. Space is limited within a walled city; 
nevertheless if houses were built on the same system as 
ours it would be possible to lay one out. Instead of de- 
signing their homes with a regard for compactness and 
convenience, the Chinese distribute the rooms here there 
and everywhere and all entirely separate one from another. 
They build not in height but in length and breadth. For 
the European it is a curious experience to have to go a 
considerable distance from dining room to drawing room 

161 L 


or from bedroom to bathroom. I have not discovered a 
house yet where you can go into every room under cover. 
Though sometimes rooms run from one into another, more 
often a courtyard intervenes. Indeed there may be several 
courtyards which one has to cross and recross many times 
a day. If it is raining one must go all round under the 
shelter of the verandah roof. The courtyards are often made 
bright by one or two beds of flowers and a few small trees, 
but though sometimes very pretty they never give the idea 
of a garden such as we understand it because of the high 
walls all round. One has a feeling of being shut in, which 
is the antithesis of what an English garden is meant to con- 
vey. In England we always want to hide our boundaries 
and give an idea of distance. If Chinese houses were built 
in height and all the courtyards thrown into one and the 
walls pulled down, there would be ample space. Such im- 
provements are out of the question however, as foreigners 
are only allowed to rent and never to buy their residences, 
and the Chinese grandees would never permit the slightest 
change in their property. 

The French Consulate is however an exception and can 
boast of quite a large garden as well as its courtyards. 
Even after many visits there I found these courtyards 
most puzzling, and never knew my way once inside the 
entrance gates. The first time I went alone without my hus- 
band, and my chair coolies had swung me through the open, 
black, wooden doors on which were painted two fantastic 
highly-coloured ferocious-looking gods of the hearth, I did 
not recognize my where-abouts at all. They carried me 
through one courtyard which I at first conceived to be my 
destination and imagined they were going to put me down, 
but continued under an arch into another. There I saw 
other chairs and other bearers and was relieved there had 
been no mistake and that I was right so far. I extracted 
myself slowly from my chair, and wondered whether I 


ought to cross that third courtyard to the left or go down 
this little passage to the right. It hardly looked a suitable 
entrance for it was dark and narrow. Of course I could 
have asked the Annamese boy who came out of his little 
sentinel box and saluted all visitors as they passed, but he 
had seen me so often he naturally thought I knew the way, 
and I was ashamed to confess my ignorance. I took even- 
tually the narrow passage and was thankful, after peeping 
cautiously round the corner, to find myself not in a bed- 
room, kitchen, or stable, but on a square gravelled terrace 
where a number of visitors were already gathered round 
the tea and bridge tables. This terrace was quite pretty and 
was less shut in than in most Chinese houses. On two sides 
was the house itself with one door leading into the dining 
room and the other at right angles into the drawing room. 
The high wall on the third side was hidden by trees, and 
from the fourth side where we were sitting we looked 
down on to the cement tennis court. This was also sur- 
rounded by walls but the one at the further end, though 
high, did not hide the distant hills. 

The French Consulate is built on a slope in the centre 
and almost on the highest point of Yunnan Fou, so that 
from the terrace, which is several feet above the tennis 
court, one obtained quite a good view beyond the wall. 
The oppressive, prison-like feeling, common to visitors 
with no experience of Chinese towns, was therefore quite 
absent here. One evening in particular I remember the 
perfect enjoyment which this view gave me. 

M me Wilden had, on this occasion, invited me to remain 
behind and dine with them and moreover made me the wel- 
come offer, after a long afternoon's tennis, of a bath and a 
change. She lent me one of her beautiful Chinese peignoirs, 
amber-coloured satin lined with light blue silk and a little 
lace colorette. When ready I went down stairs and lay in 
a long chair on the terrace while she herself went to dress. 


The sun was setting and I shall never forget the slow 
changes in the sky, colours coming and going, each one 
always more beautiful than the last. All spread their radi- 
ance on the hills. At the last, as the sun sank below the 
horizon, only the outline of the hills remained visible and 
it stood out black and rigid against the light beyond. The 
little Chinese boys, who are always employed to pick up 
the balls at tennis, and who had been busy putting away 
net and rackets and arranging the chairs on the terrace in 
symmetrical order (it required two children per chair) had 
now disappeared and quiet and silence reigned: not a voice 
was to be heard, not a breath of wind stirred the leaves of 
the trees and shrubs. With that glorious sky and that 
wonderful stillness, how incredible did it seem that within 
a hundred yards of us there should be those crowded 
streets and homes teaming with life, and ugly with noise 
and smells. 

By the time my host and hostess joined me the last 
glimmer of the sunset was disappearing. The electric lights 
distributed among the trees were now switched on and it 
was settled we should dine out there on the terrace. An- 
other wonderful spectacle was in store for us. Before 
dinner was ended the moon was at its height, and so power- 
ful were its rays through the pure clear atmosphere that 
the electric globes became mere little yellow balls in the 
trees whose light was wasted. 

M rae Wilden had put on a costume such as is worn by 
the wife of an Annamese mandarin black satin trousers 
and bright blue silk tunic and our oriental costumes helped 
to make us feel in complete harmony with our surroundings 
and the soft, pure, radiance of the night. On our departure 
the night was so lovely that we wished to walk part of the 
way home but finding that my costume was attracting too 
much attention from the Chinese in the street, I thought it 
better to enter my chair again. 


It was only after getting to know M r Wilden as a host and 
a friend that I heard of his exploits as a hero. I knew that 
he had been decorated with the Legion d'honneur at the 
age of 20 but had never heard exactly why. On the evening 
to which I have refered above I was told the story. When 
the Boxer troubles broke out in 1900, he was in Pao Ting 
Fou, capital of Petchili, as interpreter to the Franco- 
Belgian Railway Company which was then constructing a 
line between Pekin and Hankeou. He had passed through 
the "Ecole des Langues Orientales" in Paris and had only 
recently arrived in China. As soon as the revolt started, 
Pao Ting Fou became isolated; the Boxers surrounded the 
town and the Europeans found their lives threatened. It 
was then that M r \Vilden with two engineers of his Company 
M r Chemin Dupontes and M r de Rotron decided to make 
a dash for the coast. They warned the Europeans of their 
danger and offered to try to take them through to safety. 
All the white employes of the Company with their wives 
and children accepted their offer and prepared for a retreat. 
The English and American missionaries however refused 
to leave the town and put themselves and their families 
under the protection of the Viceroy. Thus the little pary 
was obliged to start off without them. 

The railway line having been cut by the Boxers it was de- 
cided to try and make their escape by boat, sailing down the 
Pei Ho. One boat containing five Europeans went astray and 
it became known later that it had fallen into the hands of 
the Boxers. All the occupants were killed and one man 
saw his wife tied to a tree and tortured before being himself 
decapitated. In parenthesis let me say that during this revolt 
those who knew the true character of the Chinese made 
up their minds to die rather than fall into their hands. 
Cases are known of men who, when all hope was lost, and 
capture inevitable, killed those dear to them and committed 


the examination for admission into the ministry of Foreign 
Affairs and was sent as a vice-consul to China. His thorough 
knowledge of Chinese, his tact energy and initiative, pro- 
cured him rapid advancement. It is rare for so young a 
diplomat to occupy the position which he now holds. 
Yunnan Fou is the most important French Consular post 
in China, the only one which ranks higher is that of Chinese 
Minister in Pekin. 

I mentioned above, that besides a French Consul, there is 
also in Yunnan Fou a British and an Italian Consul. The 
British Consul M r Fox and his wife had only been there 
six months on our arrival but they had had time to become 
extremely popular not only with the British Colony but 
with the whole European community. Their pretty dining- 
room, one side of which was entirely open on to a small 
garden courtyard, will be long remembered by many friends 
who have passed delightful afternoons and evenings there. 
"Bridge" was not only in great vogue there on Tuesday 
afternoons but the game was also very popular at the 
French Consulate while the more energetic guests were 
playing tennis. 

These gatherings for "Bridge" and tennis made Yunnan 
Fou unique for a visitor. A splendid climate, an interesting 
native town, a treasure house for curio-hunters, good ex- 
cursions were already more than a fugitive from the hot 
plains had a right to expect but he found also the most 
pleasant and hospitable society. 

On Sundays there was a deviation from the usual pro- 
gramme. Picnics were the order of the day and parties 
used to start out from the British and French Consulates and 
from the French hospital, in chairs, on foot, on horseback to 
see some pagoda in the neighbourhood. There we would 
find a long table spread on the verandah and despite the 
Buddhas staring at us from ,the dark pagoda, and native 
men and children doing the same from the corners of the 


courtyards below, we would sit down to enjoy our well- 
earned tiffin and the beautiful view which met our eyes in 
every direction. The climate of Yunnan Fou is wonder- 
fully stimulating to the appetite and this is enhanced by 
the variety of good things to be found there. The province 
seems to produce most things in abundance. We visi- 
tors from Hanoi and Haiphong appreciated greatly all the 
European vegetables and fruit which the provinces of the 
delta can only grow for five months of the year. And we 
appreciated still more the pleasure of meals in the open 
air, to be followed by that of lying down under the pines 
to sleep, or read, or chat in under-tones. Lying on the 
short grass or moss, gazing up at the blue sky through the 
green branches and inhaling the scent of the pines, all that 
we had lately endured from a stifling atmosphere seemed 
an impossibility. Had we imagined that heat which no 
fans could relieve, that continual perspiration, and that 
awful torture of a five minutes walk in the midday sun? 

I had the good fortune to be in Yunnan Fou on July 14 th , 
the great national fete-day of the French. It was celebrated 
at the French Consulate in a style worthy of their innate 
sense of the fitness of a great occasion and not only the 
French Colony but all other Europeans were invited to 
join in the festivities. 

On that morning, M r Wilden, in his Consular uniform, 
reviewed the French and Annamese police who form the 
guard of the Consulate and later received the Chinese 
authorities and the members of the French or foreign Co- 
lony who came to offer congratulations. A toast proposed 
by M r Wilden and seconded by General Tsai was drunk to 
the French President. 

All the French residents and many of the Chinese had 
decorated their houses for the occasion and the French flag 
was hoisted beside the Chinese flag on the Palace of the 
Governor General. 


In the evening there was a reception at the Consulate. 
I suppose there were about 50 Europeans there, and every- 
body expressed astonishment to find we were so numerous. 
Perhaps it was the largest number of white people ever 
assembled before in this part of China since the French 
railway had been inaugurated. Of course a few like myself 
were visitors to the town but the greater part were residents 
of Yunnan Fou or on the railway. No one absented them- 
selves from the fete who could possibly be present. All 
the representatives of the commercial houses were there, 
English, French, German, American, the British director of 
the Chinese telegraph Company; the Danish director of the 
Chinese Customs; the Scotch director of the Chinese Postal 
services; an Alsatian, who was director of the French 
Post. Then there were the men connected w r ith the French 
School, the French Hospital and the Railway Company, &c. 
Besides these, there were Protestant and Roman Catholic 
missionaries. It might be thought it would be no easy task 
to entertain so many nationalities with their differences of 
language and custom, but the popularity of host and hostess 
smoothed away any such difficulties and the evening was 
a great success. The concert in which much real and 
varied talent was displayed, followed by recitations and a 
play, was much enjoyed by an appreciative audience. A 
group of uninvited guests gazing through the trellised win- 
dow of the pretty little stage were as enthusiastic as those 
of us who were seated in front of the footlights. A number 
of small native boys and a few chair coolies had dared to 
make their way into the courtyard and creeping up to the 
window were watching the performance open-eyed and 
open-mouthed. Their shaved or close-cropped heads, their 
dirty little blue tunics and their little yellow faces peering 
in from the darkness, contrasted sharply with the pretty 
evening dresses and graceful movements of the performers 
who were in the full light of the stage. 


The concert was followed by a dance. General Tsai and 
M r Chang were present, but as mere spectators. They sat 
in armchairs and gazed impassibly at the whirling couples, 
nodding assent to any remark that was made to them but 
proffering no criticism. How I longed to be able to talk 
Chinese and drag an opinion about our mode of amusing 
ourselves from the silent, observant, young General. Or 
still more would I have liked to overhear the discussion 
which must surely have ensued with the Governor of the 
town, when at two o'clock they, like ourselves, had taken 
leave of our host and hostess. But whatever criticisms they 
made, I am sure they would not have missed their evening, 
and had enjoyed it as much as we ourselves. 

Another very pleasant evening in Yunnan Fou was pro- 
vided by the manager of the Chinese customs, a young 
Scotchman, who gave a moonlight dinner party on the lake. 

We met at six o'clock at the appointed place on the banks 
and in two small launches were rowed out to a Chinese 
house-boat. The Chinese are very fond of spending a holi- 
day on these house-boats, and large families with bag and 
baggage will often sleep, eat, drink, and smoke, on them 
in perfect content for a week or so. There are several 
anchored in different parts of the lake. They are unwieldy, 
shapeless Looking vessels viewed from outside, more like 
a big room built on a raft than any thing else. Inside they 
are elaborately decorated, all the woodwork being painted 
in brilliant colours with the patterns and designs usually 
seen on the pagoda roofs. The one to which we were invited 
contained two rooms, the first big with windows all round 
where we dined and another smaller one which was used 
as a kitchen. We sat down 20 to dinner. Petroleum lamps 
were hung over the table, and round about Chinese lan- 
terns swung to and fro and were reflected on the water. 
I love big Chinese lanterns, especially the bright red and 
bright yellow ones with their black or dark red swerving 


Oriental characters. Every one knows how these Chinese 
characters can make the simplest board or paper look 
attractive and artistic. 

After dinner those who felt inclined paddled about in 
sampans but some of us, myself included, felt perfectly 
happy just reclining at ease and looking over the moon-lit 
water and toward the hills beyond. The steep precipice of 
the Si-Chan was plainly visible, though the temples them- 
selves could not be seen. 

Everybody regretted when 11 o'clock came and it was 
time to return. It was one of those calm peaceful nights 
when it seems wicked to shut one's self into any enclosed 
space and miss the ever-changing beauties around. Why 
not reserve for sleep those dreary, cold, or windy nights of 
which there are so many and enjoy to the full with wake- 
ful senses those which give so much peace and pleasure! 
But such thoughts are found eccentric and must not be 
expressed, and we were all rowed back to shore. 

Half way to Yunnan Fou, I suddenly found that I was 
separated from the rest of the party. My chair coolies 
were carrying me in a different direction. Then I remem- 
bered that I was the only person living outside the town 
and the South Gate, to which they were making their way, 
would mean a long detour for me. I did not therefore stop 
my coolies though I had not taken leave of any of the party 
not even of my host. For a little time our paths were al- 
most parallel and I watched the long snake of Chinese 
lanterns curving in and out between the rice fields. The 
chairs of residents are provided with 3 or 4 lanterns each, 
so that this line of 60 or 70 shining coloured globes made 
a most striking effect as it wended its way across the moon- 
lit plain. My chair, being hired, had no lanterns so that 
while I could see them they could not see me, and very 
soon they too were lost to view. I passed along a canal bank 
which I remembered and then through a village. It might 


have been deserted for years. Not even a dog barked, all 
doors were tightly shut and nothing giving an idea of work 
and life was to be seen. The Chinese are so afraid of being 
robbed that even their cumbersome pumping machines 
are not left outside at night. All instruments of labour, 
all animals, even the wood for fuel are crammed into the 
tiny home which is not large or airy enough for the family 
alone. The silence and the black shadows in the brilliant 
moonlight made a weird impression on me. I did not re- 
cognize this village. Was it because it had looked different 
by day light or because my coolies had crossed it by dif- 
ferent streets or was I being . . . ? 

I grew nervous, and went hot and cold all over and just 
then they suddenly stopped and, muttering to each other, 
deposited my chair on the ground. Where was I? No, as- 
suredly I had never passed through this village before! 
My worst fears were suddenly confirmed ; they had taken 
me out of my way to rob me or kill me! If I shrieked with 
all my might, the rest of the party were too far away to 
hear me, and I felt sure that the closed doors of these Chi- 
nese huts would never open before daylight. Even if they 
did, the people might not help me but take the part of 
my coolies. In a broken voice I said "Qui Qui" (Quick) 
the only word I knew in Chinese. The coolie in front of 
me muttered but did not move. What on earth was the 
coolie behind doing? Determined to know the worst I re- 
solutely got out of my chair and looked behind. He was 
squatting on the ground arranging his sandal! Two minutes 
later I was being carried out of the village on to the canal 
path again. I had been many times assured that Europeans 
are perfectly safe in Yunnan and these chair coolies who, 
by the way had been in my service a month, had been care- 
fully chosen for me and were responsible for my safety. 
Yet these facts had been powerless to ease my fears during 
those few minutes. How stupid to allow myself to suffer 


so unnecessarily! And yet however much I reason with 
myself I know the same thing will happen again on the 
next occasion ! I did not meet a single person till I arrived 
in the town. Even in my own street, leading to one of the 
principal gates, not a human being was visible right or left 
while I waited for a response to my banging at the closed 
door of the Hotel. The Chinese do not care about moon- 
light strolls, that is evident. 

The last three weeks of my stay in Yunnan Fou were spent 
at the British Consulate. Besides the pleasure of living again 
with my own countrymen and under my own flag my am- 
bition of residing in a Chinese house was realized. 

I loved my little bed room and bath room with their 
white papered walls. The sloping ceilings were white pa- 
pered also, making a pleasing contrast with the black pain- 
ted beams. The windows were low and long, and had the 
usual wooden trellis-work seen in all Chinese houses. There 
saw a broad ledge for flower-pots and I enjoyed the beauty 
of chrysanthemums, zinnias, nasturtiums and balsams and 
at the same time the scent of violets and lilies. In Yunnan 
Fou tropical plants thrive side by side with those of a 
temperate climate. 

My windows looked out on to a square stone-paved court- 
yard. Opposite was the big drawing room, to the right the 
Consul's Office, to the left other bedrooms and dressing 
rooms and a dining room. There were four staircases run- 
ning down into the courtyard. The big dining room and 
little garden to which I have alluded earlier and where re- 
ceptions were held were quite apart from this building. 
With so many doors and so many staircases I was always 
making mistakes and used to send Amah my hostess's faith- 
ful Chinese maid into gurgles of laughter. An Annamese 
woman will never laugh and rarely smile and the sight 
and sound of such merriment in a native compensated me 
amply for the annoyance arising from my errors. 


The only parts of a Chinese house which did not meet 
with my approval were the doors. They opened in the 
middle like those of a cuphoard but had no handles or 
locks. They were secured by a kind of clumsy wooden 
bolt or iron loop on the inside but though nobody could 
then enter, there was always a crack down the middle. 
Sometimes I found Amah peeping in to see if her knocking 
at that moment would inconvenience me! 


THE Great War 19141918 ended, the question of the 
Pacific comes once again to the fore. Once again the eyes 
of the World are fixed on China, while the United States 
and Japan are comparing the growth of their Military and 
Naval forces. 

Of Western Nations, England and France are those most 
interested in the study of Asiatic problems. The French 
in Indo-China are well placed to fill an important role. 
Certain Frenchmen of authority have sought to spread the 
idea that France should be content with Africa. Their con- 
tention was summed up in the formula: "Lachons 1'Asie, 
gardens I'Afrique!" 

But what niggardly and short-sighted aspirations in colo- 
nial affairs! If the phrase has been repeated recently it 
has at least been the means of eliciting a declaration from 
the French Government which will dissipate all future 
misunderstanding. In the Chamber of Deputies on June 
29 th 1920 Monsieur Albert Sarraut, Colonial Minister and 
late Governor-General of Indo-China eloquently proclaimed 
the integrity of the French Colonies. 

" Le temps n'est plus de 1'ancienne politique mercantile, 
de 1'ancienne politique d'exploitation, je dirai meme des 
erreurs de la politique d'assimilation. A ces formules, 
nous avons, depuis un temps assez long, substitue' la 
formule plus heureuse de la politique dissociation qui 




considere les colonies non pas comme de simples d6- 
bouches commerciaux, non pas comme de simples 
marches ou Ton va vendre une pacotille en 6change 
d'epices ou de denrees precieuses. Les colonies sont 
aujourd'hui des entiles vivantes, des creations d'huma- 
nit. Ce qui fait la beaute meme de 1'ideal francais et 
de 1'oeuvre de colonisation francaise, c'est que, consi- 
derant comme des freres plus jeunes les races qui ne 
sont pas soumises a sa tutelle, la France les prend par 
la main pour les conduire vers un autre avenir; elle les 
associe non pas seulement au partage des-bienfaits, des 
fruits et des beneTices, mais aussi aux obligations morales 
par quoi elles prennent conscience le leurs devoirs vis a 
vis de nous pour la garde et la commune defense du 
patrimoine solidaire. 

Au lendemain des heures tragiques, ou toutes nos 
colonies ont donne, sans compter, le sang de leurs fils, 
et ou 1'Indo-Chine, pour sa part, a envoye ici plus de 
120.000 volontaires et alors que les bateaux qui partent 
de France rapatrient vers la terre natale des Annamites 
mutiles, converts de cicatrices, ou les cercueils de ces 
braves qui, comme notre cher Do Hun Vi, ont donn6 un 
si glorieux exemple aux vivants, il est deplorable qu'une 
voix; meme solitaire, puisse s'elever pour conseiller a 
la France de vendre a Fencan, comme un betail, les fils 
d'Asie qui sont venus pour combattre pour elle. 

Et puisqu'aussi bien 1'occasion m'en est ainsi donnee, 
il faut qu'une bonne fois pour toutes, et tres haut ici, pour 
que chacun 1'entende, il soit r6pondu par une denegation 
formelle du Gouvernement a ces commerages ou a ces 
campagnes du dedans ou du dehors qui tendent a laisser 
croire que la France peut vendre ses colonies! La France 
ne vend pas, n'a pas a vendre ses colonies! La France 
ne fait pas ce metier!" 
The influence of France in Asia has been strengthened 


rather than diminished by the War. The prestige of her 
victory together with her friendship with England insure 
considerable advantages for a long time to come. She will 
regain in Yunnan the leading position which is due to her 
owing to the country's proximity to Indo-China and the 
sacrifices which she has made in its interests. Japan's 
dreams of direct control must vanish. As for Germany's 
hold on various commercial enterprises, it is for ever broken 
and France will never permit to revive, whatever the new 
form may be. Before the war there were many German 
firms at Yunnan such as a cartridge factory, an electric light 
Company and a very active business in connection with 
consular representation. It was on Yunnan Fou that the 
Germans relied for spreading disorder and rebellion 
throughout Indo-China. They were only partially success- 
ful. In 1918 at Binh and Hoang mo near Moncay there 
was a small rising in which Madame Pivet and Monsieur 
Leibrecht were carried off as hostages. This incident re- 
minded one of the darker times at Tonking but the move- 
ment was not followed up and the Indo-Chinese population 
gave proof of their loyalty. In Laos too, German Officers 
with a small following succeeded for a time in holding 
part of the country by means of a line of trenches near the 
High Mekong. 

The Japanese had considerably increased their influence 
in Yunnan as in the other provinces of China during the 
war. In 1916 they sent some officers there as instructors 
and technical advisers, without however attempting to in- 
terfere with French control. It must be remembered that 
General Tsai was pro-Japanese and had received encourage- 
ment from his friends in Tokio during his campaigns in 
Setchouen and Tibet. And the position of Japan is still very 
strong in Yunnan. 

France has quite recently obtained permission to send 
a French Military Mission there. Its work cannot fail to be 


extremely useful. It is much to be desired too that other 
hospitals should be built like the one at Yunnan Fou which 
makes French science admired and respected. 

France cannot dissociate herself from the future of 
Yunnan. She must follow its movements both economic 
and political, for they have by no means yet attained any 
degree of stability. Yunnan is the most independent pro- 
vince of China, and would be a danger to Indo-China if it 
was completely detached from the Confederation for it 
would certainly become a centre of unrest and anarchy. 

During the European war Yunnan served more than once 
as the battle ground between the various armies of China. 
In the early part of 1917 the Yunnanese commanded by 
General Tcheng Kiong Ming was defeated by the army of 
the North. On April 11 th however they gained a victory at 
Tienpe. On August 31 st 1917 Yunnan with the provinces 
of Kouang and Koueitcheou became incorporated with the 
Southern or Canton Government which recognised Sun 
Yat Sen as President. It has been said that it is Japanese 
loans which enable the Civil War to continue. The North 
seems now to have the stronger military force. The struggle 
will doubtless only end when the Great Powers intervene. 

Just lately (June 1920) we were told that hostilities had 
broken out afresh and that a rebel army was marching on 
Pekin. Europe should follow events attentively for it might 
be the origin of another anti-foreign movement like that 
of the Boxers. 

China has not escaped the universal upheaval which 
has followed the great War 19141918. The Peace Con- 
ference in assigning Chantung to the Japanese has dis- 
pleased the Chinese who have refused to sign the Versailles 
Treaty. As a result of this policy, we might see them, victims 
as they deem themselves of European and American de- 
ception, forming a panasiatic movement under the direction 
of Japan. China is undoubtedly too weak to be dangerous 


for some time to come but one must not forget that it is 
the most populous country in the world with its 400 million 
inhabitants spread over a surface of 11 million square kilo- 
metres. It is the richest in minerals. Their first Dynasty 
goes back to 2200 B. c. and their history has no parallel. 
Though the past weighs heavily on China she is never- 
theless in process of an evolution which will radically 
transform her and build up again her national unity. 

China has been a Republic since February 1 st 1912. The 
reforms in administration, education and legislation have 
produced extraordinary results. The building of railways 
goes on apace. In 1914 a French Company obtained per- 
mission to lay down the Chu Ling Yu line which would 
connect the port Yantcheou(Kouangtoun)withYunnan Fou 
and another which would cross the Yangtse at Sui Fou and 
thus connect Yunnan Fou with Tchonng Rung. The War 
interrupted many undertakings and among them the 
"German Transcaucasian", a line for which M. Duboscq 
was responsible and which was to go from Tchengtou in 
Setchouen through Hankeou to Canton. 

China is then an essential factor in the near future of 
the world. The struggle for the Pacific will be a struggle 
for China. China, while following her own destiny, needs 
nevertheless the help of such foreign powers as England 
America and France both to carry out her great economic 
enterprises and to instruct her in modern science. What 
a prodigious field of activity where the treasures wasted 
in war might have been so much better employed! With no 
ulterior motive of domination each friendly power must 
localise its efforts. France who has great interests in Indo- 
China and who has already given proof of her capacity to 
collaborate with the Southern provinces must be respon- 
sible for Yunnan. 

The future of the province is bound up with that of Indo- 
China. They have a common destiny by reason of their 


geographical position and of the railway in the making of 
which France has turned the natural lie of the land to the 
advantage of both countries. 

The natural resources of Yunnan are not well known. 
The following table gives an idea of her export of metals 
shipped at Haiphong. 

1916 1917 

Antimony 2.800 pecules 410 pecules 

Copper 400 103 

Lead 13.236 10.237 

Mercury 34 46 

Tin 115.293 185.634 

Zink 10.012 1.933 

Between Yunnan and Hongkong exports amounted to 
13.684 tons in 1917 and 10.801 tons in 1918. 

The circulation in francs from Indo-China to Yunnan 
amounted to 79 millions in 1916 and 98 millions in 1917. 
Between Yunnan and Hongkong transactions in minerals, 
metals, and skins, amounted to a sum of 13 million francs 
in 1917. 

Yunnan is taking its full share in the expansion of foreign 
commerce which is so notable a feature in China since the 
War. In 1918 it registered its high water mark. 

The mining industry of Yunnan is also developing rapidly. 
Most of the Chinese tin goes to Hongkong where it is ana- 
lysed. In 1916 the value of Yunnan tin was a million gold 
dollars. By 1917 it was three times as much while during 
the first nine months of 1918 tin worth 13 million dollars 
(gold) arrived at Honkong. England and America have sent 
out engineers to prospect and competition is keen. The 
famous tin mines of Kocleou, near Mongzeu, are being 
worked by Americans. When the French authorities of Indo- 
China remonstrated on this account with the Chinese 
Government, the answer came back that although the French 
might certainly claim prior rights according to the Agree- 


ment of 1917, they had never made use of their advantageous 
position. The same thing applies to the silver mines of Tang 
Yueh where the Chinese have been forced to employ other 
engineers than French. If France is not to lose all her mining 
prerogatives here, she must hasten to reserve for herself the 
direction of the copper mines as well as the coal and antimony 
mines which still remain unworked. 

The results of the first mining enterprises were disappoint- 
ing. A reaction has now set in however and there is no 
lack of encouraging signs. But methodical research is in- 
dispensable and for this purpose a laboratory of mineralogy 
has now been set up at Mongzeu. 

Important hydraulic works have been undertaken by the 
French both for land irrigation and for electrical purposes. 
Here are openings for French activity and it would be 
well to attract towards the French schools in Tongking the 
many young Chinese students who will be the engineers 
of the future. It is these men who will later inspire their 
country with new life and ideas. At present they tend to 
flow into the schools and colleges at Hongkong. 

If France means to maintain the first place in Yunnan 
which is her right, she will have to strive for it more and 
more. International commerce in China is ever on the in- 
crease and if France fails to profit by her influence in Indo- 
China and by the rights granted her in the treaties in the 
last twenty years, she will soon be out-distanced. 

China is attracting the capital and energy not only of all 
European nations but also of Japan. England and America, 
no sooner freed from one dangerous rival, are immediately 
recognising another in the Japanese whose influence 
through her penetration into China has extended greatly 
during the war. 

With its 400 million inhabitants China is the greatest 
market in the world. It is a country of rapidly changing 
and of unlimited needs. Its industrial future is assured 


owing to its considerable mining wealth. It is estimated 
that there is enough coal in China to provide for the whole 
world for ten centuries. 

The home policy of China has not regained its normal 
equilibrium. Anxiety as to the results of the continual in- 
ternal disorders would in most cases be discouraging to big 
enterprises, but what looks to us as serious agitation does 
not greatly disturb the mass of the Chinese people. It is 
all on the surface. It would need far more than this to 
create a real upheaval, though the struggle between North 
and South is always on the verge of breaking out again and 
though Bolshevistic influences are making themselves felt 
at Peking. 

The schism between North and South still exists and 
Canton sets itself constantly in opposition to Peking. In de- 
fiance of the President of the Chinese Republic Hsiw Chew 
Tchang whose head quarters are at Peking, the president 
of the Canton Parliament, Sun Yat Sen acts as the chief 
of the confederated provinces of the South. No hostilities 
are in progress in the present year, 1921, but the hopes which 
were expressed lately of a definite understanding between 
the two Chinas have not yet been realised. 

The conference for this purpose at Shanghai was not 
successful. In addition to this latest rivalry, the provinces 
of the South are continually fighting among themselves and 
it is indeed only by taking advantage of these quarrels that 
Sun Yat Sen can maintain his authority. Kouang Si is al- 
ways at war with Kouang Toung. The leaders of the Yun- 
nan Koueitcheou group are aiming to transfer the seat of 
Government from Canton to Yunnan Fou. At the present 
moment Setchouen is at war with Yunnan and Koueitcheou. 

To complicate matters still more Sun Yat Sen has entered 
into relations with Lenin and has sent an ambassador to 
Soviet Russia. Doubtless the new Communists of Russia 
and those of China who uphold the communistic ideas of 


centuries have many characteristics in common but cer- 
tainly the former have not reached the standard of the latter. 

While the South continues to be troubled by struggles 
between province and province, the North is at present 
quiet. Will this peace last? One cannot say. Many occa- 
sions for discord exist between the different military chiefs 
who share the real power, a power which is merely sup- 
ported by the bayonet. The Mandchou party is now in 
power. That of the Anfou Club or the pro-Japanese has been 
defeated and its chief Touan Tsi Jouei has retired, giving 
place to Marshal Tchang Tso Lin governor of the three 
Mancheou provinces. This man, a highway robber in his 
youth still remains in Moukden but it is said that he intends 
one day to march to Peking and to restore the monarchy. 
Even supposing he elects to remain quiet, there may be 
trouble still from General Tsao Kouen his illustrious partner 
who helped him to the presidency of the Aufou Club. Tsao 
Kouen resides near Peking at Pao Ting Fou and might ar- 
rive first upon the scene. Moreover in the next general elec- 
tions he hopes to take office as Vice- President of the Repu- 
blic, a fact with which Marshal Tschang Tso Lin is not at 
all pleased. The smallest spark might set the powder alight. 
The president Hsiw Chew Tchang and the Peking Govern- 
ment would be alike helpless to prevent military rebellions 
and save the country from bloodshed. They cannot even 
attempt a show of opposition to the plans of Sun Yat Sen 
in the South. 

The present quiet which reigns in China is mainly due to 
the disastrous drought in the northern provinces. A telegram 
on March 28, 1921 announced that in the province of Chen- 
Si 50000 inhabitants have died of famine. 

Among the nations claiming a share of influence in China, 
Russia may play an important part. In spite of the troubled 
period through which she herself is passing, good relations 
have always been maintained between the two countries. 


The Soviet Government has constituted a "Repubic of the 
Far East" in Siberia between Lake Baikal and the Pacific 
and given it almost complete independence. Its present 
High Commissioner, Yunin, is very active and is negotiat- 
ing treaties at Peking which are most advantageous to the 
new Republic. 

The zone of French influence is in South China. French 
methods give greater hope of peace and security than those 
of Russia in the North. French influence is especially strong 
in Yunnan as we have already said, owing to its proximity 
to Indo-China and to the railway which joins them. The 
separatist movement in Yunnan also helps to unite them. 
Yunnan has always shown great independence in her atti- 
tude towards China. She hates the mandarins forced upon 
her by Peking or Canton. She resents the intrusion of 
Chinese from other provinces. During her long history 
Yunnan has struggled continually for freedom. When Mon- 
sieur Doumer was Governor-General of Indo-China, there 
were attempts to unite Yunnan to the French Colony. For 
the climate of Yunnan, thanks to its high situation, is not 
unlike that of France and would well suit the French race. 
Moreover they could have settled there without detriment 
to the scanty native population. In 1900 Monsieur Doumer 
was ready to.occupy Yunnan. The consent of all the foreign 
consuls had been obtained. He then referred the project 
to his Government who, however, raised the objection that 
there would be difficulty in overcoming the Chinese forces 
in Yunnan as nearly all the French troops in the Far East 
were at that time at Peking. As a matter of fact the objection 
did not hold good; the Governor-General knew the value 
and number of the Chinese soldiers in Yunnan for in order 
to keep them quiet it was he who was paying them. 

Times have changed. In the last twenty years, China has 
undergone the most important evolution in her history and 
her outlook is transformed. France too does not now seek 


territorial expansion. She is content with a policy of in- 
fluence and a commercial understanding. 

France has always been in sympathy with a western edu- 
cation for China. During the last century she did much to 
attract Chinese students to her country while, among 
Frenchmen, the study of Chinese art and literature was 
much in vogue. Greater intimacy would be a mutual gain 
for each country. Monsieur Painleve's mission in China 
was very successful. First hundreds and now thousands of 
young Chinese students have been entering French schools 
and universities, and they are quickly imbibing not only 
her methods but her spirit. 

Long before the war France already had flourishing in- 
stitutions in China. Legendre in Tchoung King, Dupuy 
in Canton,Vadon and Le Dentu in Yunnan Fou, increased 
her influence. The hospitals of Yunnan Fou and Mongzeu 
have done their part in raising her prestige. A number 
of German educational institutions are now also being taken 
over by the French. 

Certain military schools at Peking, Tientsien, Tsi Nan 
Fou, Makin had engaged Germans to train young officers 
for the army. Count Rex, the ex-German ambassador at 
Peking succeeded in making the German language obliga- 
tory in Chinese universities; he encouraged the foundation 
of Chino-German schools, providing grants through banks 
and commercial houses. One of these schools was opened 
at Tcheng Tou in Setchouen, which borders on Yunnan. 
In Kiaw Tcheou a German Colony, German instruction 
was not surprising but it was strange to find such a school 
on the French concession of Shanghai. It was first a 
hospital, then a school of medicine was added, and later an 
industrial school which trained engineers for electrical 
railways and mines. This school has been specially referred 
to in the Versailles treaty. Germany is to give it up to the 
French and Chinese Governments. 


In China, the power given by education cannot be over- 
rated. The respect due to the master is on an equality with 
that given to parents. France recognises this fact and is wise 
in her desire to attract to her schools and colleges in Indo- 
China and France Chinese youth from whom the govern- 
ing class will later be recruited. The advantages of her 
moral influence are far-reaching for French prestige is 
already preponderant in South China and as the Yunnan 
railway extends reaching the banks of the Yang Tse Kiang 
at Sin-Fou and Tchoung King her sphere of influence will 
follow in its wake. When the line is completely finished it 
will join up the gulf of Tonking, Petchili, and the Yellow 
Sea and branches to the North will draw the commerce 
of Tali and Semao. 

A great future is then open to Yunnan. The foregoing 
glimpse at the political situation shows Yunnan already 
in no unfavourable position. When, with the help of Indo- 
China, she is no longer commercially isolated but united to 
the rest of the world by her railways, she may indeed beco- 
me the most important province of China and Yunnan Fou 
aspire to supplant Canton as the capital of Southern China. 

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